HarperCollins imprint the Borough Press has signed a new novel after publisher Katie Espiner mentored the author through the WoMentoring programme.
Espiner signed UK and Commonwealth rights to The Problem with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon in a deal with Sue Armstrong at Conville & Walsh for "a high five-figure sum". Cannon and Espiner were introduced through the WoMentoring programme, which pairs female writers with people from the publishing industry. Cannon then met Sue Armstrong at the York Festival of Writing where she won a competition, and the book was exclusively submitted to Espiner.
The book is set during the heatwave of 1976, and follows two girls, Grace and Tilly, trying to solve the mystery of their neighbour's disappearance.
Espiner said: "It has been an absolute joy to meet and work with Jo. From the moment I read the first pages of Grace and Tilly’s story I knew that we had something truly special on our hands. Jo is an incredible talent and I am just so thrilled to be bringing her to Borough."
The Problem with Goats and Sheep will be published in hardback and e-book in Spring 2016.