Wildfire has pre-empted a “feminist epic”, Ariadne by Jennifer Saint, retelling the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, from the perspective of Ariadne and her sister Phaedra.
The deal, said to have been "major" although the sum paid was undisclosed, was for two books from Saint including Ariadne. It was struck by director Kate Stephenson with Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens, who turned down one other pre-emptive offer before closing with Wildfire.
Stephenson said they knew they had needed to move quickly to acquire the debut, authored by Yorkshire-based English teacher Saint, calling it "beautifully written and thrillingly compulsive". Ariadne will now be “a major launch” for the imprint, as a trade paperback, audio and e-book, in June 2021.
“You think you know the myth, but Jennifer brilliantly gives a voice to the women who have been pushed to its margins,” said Stephenson. “Ariadne is a completely transporting, deeply moving feminist epic which held me in its grip from the first sentence. I’ve been waiting a long time to find an author like Jennifer Saint and a book like Ariadne, and I knew we’d have to move swiftly to snap her up. I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Jennifer and cannot wait to share her breath-taking novel far and wide.”
Caroline Bleeke at Flatiron pre-empted North American rights. In other territories, Ullstein won German rights at auction, Italian rights were pre-empted by Sonzogno, Dutch rights were pre-empted by Orlando, and an auction is underway in Spain.
Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London, before becoming an English teacher. She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Wildfire to bring Ariadne’s story to the world. It has been unbelievably exciting and overwhelming to have this dream come true and I can’t wait to share this book with everyone. I’m so very grateful to my incredible agent, Juliet, for everything she has done to make this happen.”