Transworld has snapped up supernatural thriller The Stranger Times by C K McDonnell, with the novel at the centre of a six-way auction in Germany and auctions in France and Spain. Screen rights have also been sold.
Acquiring editor Simon Taylor bought world English rights from Ed Wilson at Johnson & Alcock. The Stranger Times will be published in print and digital formats in early 2021.
The series took off internationally within 24 hours of submission with a six-way auction in Germany ending in a six-figure deal with Eichborn, followed by an auction in Spain (Atico de los Libros) and a deal in France (Pygmalion), with "brisk interest" coming from other territories, said Transworld. Screen rights have been won at auction by "Wolf Hall" and "The Missing" producers Playground Entertainment.
The novel is the first in a series of "smart, irreverent and bloody funny" supernatural thrillers centred around a struggling Manchester-based weekly newspaper dedicated to investigating the weird, the unexplained and the inexplicable.
Taylor said: "We were completely won over by the print copy of The Stranger Times newspaper that preceded Ed’s submission. Eight pages of hilarious headlines, outrageous articles, genius classifieds and even a psychic crossword (no clues necessary, of course)! We are all going to have a lot of fun introducing The Stranger Times and its dedicated staff of misfits to the wider world."
McDonnell, alter-ego of award-winning script writer, stand-up comedian and indie author Caimh McDonnell, said: "As soon as my agent told me that Simon and Transworld were interested in The Stranger Times, I told him that I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Thankfully, he neglected to mention that in negotiations. I’m thrilled to be working with them and on a project that celebrates my adopted home of Manchester in all of its oddball glory."
Wilson added: "Caimh first mentioned The Stranger Times to me over a pint of Guinness, and I knew instantly he was onto a winner. He is one of the freshest, funniest writers on the planet, and this series is a celebration of his myriad talents."