HarperFiction signs six-figure deal with debut author Abigail Dean

Lucy Nathan
Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Girl A has also been bought for seven figures in the US

Julia Wisdom, publisher at HarperFiction, has bought UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights to Girl A and The Conspiracies in a six-figure deal with debut author Abigail Dean. Juliet Mushens negotiated the deal at a nine-way auction after turning down two "significant" six-figure pre-empts within 48 hours of submission. US rights went to Laura Tisdel at Viking in a seven-figure deal at auction by Jenny Bent on behalf of Mushens, while the novel was pre-empted in France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, and sold at auction in Spain and Lithuania. TV/film rights are in negotiation via Sally Willcox at Paradigm.

Girl A follows the story of successful lawyer Lex Gracie, who is known to the public as Girl A and who escaped from a childhood of abuse at the hands of religious fanatic parents, freeing her six siblings. When her mother dies and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, they must come to terms with their childhood, in a story described as "suspenseful, emotional, devastating - and, ultimately, hopeful". It will be published in hardback in spring 2021.

Wisdom said: "Girl A is a ground-breaking, beautifully written and incredibly powerful novel. For me, and for Phoebe Morgan who will be Abigail's editor, it is a book that will resonate with every reader long after they finish it and the psychological insights are astonishing. We couldn't be more thrilled to have the chance to publish this extraordinary novel and are looking forward hugely to working with Abby."

Dean said: "HarperFiction's pitch was incredible: smart, creative and full of passion for the novel and its characters. I'm so excited to be working with Julia, Laura and their fantastic teams to introduce Girl A and the Gracie family to readers across the world. The last few weeks have been dreamlike, and I'm in awe of my agent, Juliet, who has worked tirelessly to make all of this happen."

Mushens said: "I started the manuscript at my desk and ended up finishing Girl A on my phone as I couldn't bear to stop reading, and emailed Abigail at 3am, convinced that this book was going to be a literary conversation-setter as well as a commercial juggernaut. Abigail is masterful at what she hides as well as what she reveals, and the portrait of a family decades after trauma is fascinating and moving. The response in the UK and internationally has been extraordinary, but exactly what the book deserves."

Photo of Abigail Dean by Nicola Thompson

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