The one sale that's invigorated the publishing industry during an otherwise sleepy summer is the major buy Little, Brown just made for Australian novelist Hannah Kent's Burial Rites. Judy Clain, editor-in-chief at Little, Brown, has paid seven figures for North American rights to the novel, in a two-book deal. Dan Lazar at Writers House brokered the deal with Clain on behalf of Pippa Mason, the author's Australian agent at Curtis Brown. Picador bought the book in Australia, and rights have also been sold in France, Italy, Brazil and The Netherlands.
The novel is about the last woman to be beheaded, in front of the masses, in 1830. Kent's manuscript won, in 2011, the first Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Kent, who is 27, works at the Australian literary magazine Kill Your Darlings.
The auction for the book was held simultaneously around the world--centered from the U.K. and Australia--and closed yesterday. In the States, Clain wound up beating colleagues at Grand Central for the novel.