The Borough Press has bought The Chilbury Ladies' Choir in a “major” six-figure deal.
Kate Elton, executive publisher of fiction and non-fiction, and Cassie Browne, commissioning editor at The Borough Press, have bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, at auction, to The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown, on behalf of Alexandra Machinist at ICM, in a "major" six-figure deal.
Set in the Kentish village of Chilbury during the Second World War, the title is a “heart-warming and wonderfully spirited novel” told through the journals and letters of four women who are part of a ladies village choir, reformed after the vicar closed the choir due to its male singers leaving for war.
Originally from London, Jennifer Ryan is a non-fiction book editor based in Washington DC. For her debut novel, Jennifer based her research on her grandmother’s stories of her war years in England.
Elton said: “This truly is that rare find: a debut novel that heralds a fantastic new voice in fiction and that also reminds you how completely uplifting storytelling can be. Jennifer Ryan’s beautifully drawn collection of characters display such grit and zeal as they keep afloat during the trials of war and fight to celebrate all that is good. This novel will speak to so many readers and bring so much joy, it is my absolute pleasure to publish The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir."
Hilary Rubin Teeman, senior editor at Crown Publishing, also acquired North American rights to the novel at auction in a high six-figure deal and the title has also sold in a further eight territories, including a six figure deal after an eleven way auction in Germany.
It is due to be published in spring 2017.