Sceptre wins auction for debut

Rights - Fiction Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Suicide Club by Rachel Heng bought after 'heated auction'; novel described as 'provocative, prophetic and addictive'

Editorial director Melissa Cox acquired British Commonwealth rights (ex. Canada) from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens at auction. US rights were bought by Libby Burton at Holt in a six-figure auction from Sasha Raskin at UTA, on behalf of Juliet Mushens, and rights have also sold in Sweden and Portugal.

The book will be a super-lead title for Sceptre and is scheduled for publication as hardback and eBook in August 2018. It will be published simultaneously in the US.

According to Hodder's acquisition statement, 'Suicide Club is set in a near future New York, where life expectancy averages three hundred years and the pursuit of immortality has become all-consuming for the genetically superior. It follows Lea, a high-flying organ trader with a perfect genetic code, and the more mysterious Anja, who draws Lea into the world of Suicide Club, an outlawed activist group fighting for a person’s right to live and die as they choose.'

Cox said: 'We are living in an era of self-care obsession. YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are full of images of people living their ‘best lives’ through diet, exercise, meditation and a carefully constructed lifestyle aesthetic.

'Suicide Club imagines a world in which all technology lives in service to maintaining health, and wellness has a governmental mandate. It asks big questions but is also an electrifying, hell-for-leather kind of book. I knew from reading Rachel’s stories that she was a talent to watch and her novel really delivered on that promise. I see her as a big future star of the Sceptre list and it’s a tremendous privilege to be publishing her in the UK.'

Heng said: 'I wanted to write a book about our societal obsession with youth and eternal life, our relationships with our oozing, shedding, deteriorating bodies, our age-old fear of mortality. I'm absolutely thrilled that Suicide Club has found its home with Sceptre in the UK and Henry Holt in the US, both of whom have such a great history of publishing ambitious and thought-provoking literary fiction.'

Mushens said: 'I read Suicide Club in one, compulsive gulp and was struck by how timely it is, how provocative, but also by how human the story is at heart. Rachel is a talent to watch and I am delighted that Sceptre will be launching her career.'

Heng's short stories have appeared in literary journals such as The Offing, Prairie Schooner, the minnesota review and others. Her fiction has won Prairie Schooner's Jane Geske Award, was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has been commended by the Huffington Post’s in their '15 Stellar Short Stories You Can Read Online' list.

She was born in Singapore and lives in London, where she currently works as an investment manager. She graduated from Columbia University in New York with a BA in Comparative Literature & Society. From August, she will be pursing her MFA in Fiction and Screenwriting at the Michener Center For Writers, UT Austin, where she was awarded the James A. Michener Fellowship.

Pictured: Rachel Heng (credit Carl Jeanbart)

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