Sceptre is publishing Benedict Wells' German bestseller The End of Loneliness in March 2018, marking his English-language debut.
The book - Wells' fourth, albeit his first in the English langauage, translated by Helen & Kurt Wolff Prize-winning translator Charlotte Collins - is about "how fate and friendships shape a person", exploring sibling rivalry and "the perennial bonds and ideals of love".
Its German publisher, Diogenes, has sold over 200,000 copies so far, while it has been published into 10 languages and sold into 27 territories. It was a winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, the Ravensburger Verlag Foundation Prize and was voted #3 Book of the Year by German booksellers.
It follows the story Jules and his older brother and sister Liz and Marty, whose lives are devastated by the death of their parents during their early teenage years. The three of them are then moved from their family home in Munich to a military boarding school. Here the siblings' lives are shaped and their personalities altered: Liz goes off the rails, Marty throws himself in to work and Jules goes from being fearless and gregarious young boy to withdrawn and isolated young adult. The shining light is his friendship with mysterious Alva whose own home life is far from perfect.
Editorial director Emma Herdman acquired world English rights from Susanne Bauknecht at Diogenes.
Herdman said: "It’s not often that you come across a book that is both a compelling love story – fraternally and romantically – and a gentle nudge to make you consider how you live your life. Wells has effortlessly combined the two, and Charlotte Collins’ translation is a beautiful rendering of the original."
Wells, 33, published his debut Beck’s Last Summer published in 2008 and it was subsequently adapted into a film in 2015. His third novel Almost Ingenious was published in 2011 and remained on the Spiegel bestseller list for 12 weeks.
He said: "It was always a dream of mine to be translated into English. Unlike literature, every other art form is universally accessible from the very beginning. A painting, a song, a sculpture, a subtitled film – everyone can understand them, all over the world. Books have limits, though, and they need translation. So I'm very happy about the English version of The End of Loneliness and I hope the people will like it."