Transworld has acquired a post-Holocaust love story by Hungarian author Péter Gárdos, said to be "the talk of London Book Fair", in a nine-way auction.
Jane Lawson, editorial director at Doubleday, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Australia New Zealand, for Fever at Dawn, in a deal with Sarah Lutyens of Lutyens and Rubinstein, on behalf of Michael Heyward of Text Publishing.
Fever at Dawn is inspired by the relationship between the author’s parents. Just after Gárdos’ father died in 1998, his mother gave him a pack of letters written in the months after the Holocaust which revealed their love story. He took the next 10 years to turn the story into a book, which was originally published by Hungarian publisher Libri.
Rights have been sold in 22 territories to date, with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing it in the US and Anansi publishing it in Canada.
Lawson said: “I found myself incredibly moved by this story of how a young man given six months to live embarks on a mission to find a wife. Comparable in tone and range of emotion with the iconic film 'Life is Beautiful', it is an exquisite tale of love outwitting death. We are thrilled to be part of the Fever at Dawn global publishing story.”
Heyward said: “Fever at Dawn is a love story for the ages. This crazy, joyous book, with its grim post-Holocaust setting, is a sad story with a happy ending, a novel to remember for the rest of your life.”
Transworld will publish Fever at Dawn in Doubleday hardback in early 2016.
Gárdos is currently directing a film adaption of the story, which will be released in 2016.
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