Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired 15 unpublished stories by the late Elmore Leonard.
Commissioning editor Sophie Buchan bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the works from Stephanie Derbyshire at the Wylie Agency.
The stories in the collection, called The Unpublished Stories, were largely written during Leonard’s time as a copywriter at a Detroit advertising agency.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson said they find Leonard “exploring far-flung locations – from the bars of small-town New Mexico to a military base in Kuala Lumpur – and unforgettable characters, several of whom recur in his published work”.
“With razor-sharp dialogue and headlong pacing, these stories reveal a master who honed his craft from a very young age,” the publisher continued.
Buchan said: “I didn’t think I’d ever have the chance to read original Leonard fiction again, and it’s wonderful to be wrong about that.
“Leonard wrote dialogue like a screenwriter, could build a character you can picture in just a few lines.
“And it’s astonishing that, so early in his career, these gifts are already on display. This collection reminds us why Leonard is so sorely missed.”
Leonard died in August last year at the age of 87. He published 45 novels during his career, and since 2005 was published by Orion in the UK.
The Unpublished Stories will be published in autumn 2015. HarperCollins will publish in America.