An auction for a collection of short stories by first-time Australian author John Murray drew an unprecedented 10 bidders, with HarperCollins executive editor Gail Winston emerging the winner with a strong six-figure offer. The collection is called A Few Notes on Tropical Butterflies, and agent Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest, who made the sale of U.S. and Canadian rights, said it is "extraordinarily wide-ranging, set in many different parts of the world, with amazingly convincing voices, and all reflecting Murray's scientific knowledge." The author is a doctor residing in the U.S., who has been working on the collection at the Iowa Writers Workshop. Friedrich said the book had already been preempted in the U.K. by Viking. It will probably be published here late next year.