Conville & Walsh seem to have started early this year in the run up to Frankfurt Book Fair, concluding several big deals and making a whole run of foreign rights sales. Here’s a sneak peek at some of our biggest books running up to the fair.
Since his retirement, sixty-five year old Harold Fry has done nothing but mow the lawn, and infuriate his wife by filling in the easy answers on her Telegraph crossword. Then an unexpected letter, postmarked Berwick upon Tweed, arrives from an old friend, Queenie, whom he hasn’t seen in twenty years. Queenie is dying of cancer.
When Harold sets out to post his reply he embarks on a journey that will change him beyond recognition. For Harold realises that simply posting a reply isn’t enough. He is going to walk, all 500 miles from Devon to Berwick. So long as he keeps walking, his friend Queenie must keep living. It is an impulsive, terrifying, beautiful and irrational act of faith made by a man who has spent most of his life in a chair.
On the way, Harold will meet people who will both alter his view of the world, and challenge him to remember the past he would rather forget. He will briefly become a national celebrity. He will give up his credit card, sleep in the wild, and almost lose his way altogether. But it is his awakened faith in the power of one human being to help another that is the heart of the book. As he confronts the mistakes and losses of his past, and the tragic secret at the heart of his marriage, Harold’s inner journey will prove as transformative as his physical one.
Left behind, Harold’s wife, Maureen, will also go on a journey. And what has begun as a story about two wasted lives becomes a celebration of a man on his feet.
Agent: Clare Conville
Rights sold in UK & Commonwealth (Transworld), USA (Susan Kamil Books/Random House), Brazil (Objetiva), Denmark (Lindhardt og Ringhof), Finland (WSOY), France (Oh! Editions), Germany (Kreuger/Scherz), Holland (De Bezige Bij), Iceland (Bjartur), Israel (Kinneret), Italy (Sperling & Kupfner), Norway (Aschehoug), Portugal (Porto Editora), Sweden (Norstedts)
Would you grab any chance at happiness, even if it wasn’t yours to take?
1926. On a remote island off Western Australia, Tom and Isabel Sherbourne, a young, childless couple run the Janus lighthouse. Life is quiet, cocooned from the rest of the world, but when one April morning a boat washes ashore with two bodies inside – an infant and a dead man – the path of their lives suddenly hits an unthinkable crossroads. Compelled by Izzy’s desperate pleas and the pain of their own recent loss, Tom finds himself burying the stranger’s corpse while his wife eagerly pulls out her, as yet unused, book of babies names…
Having rashly decided to keep the child and pass her off as their own a rift opens in their relationship, which is tested to the limit when two years later they return to the mainland and are reminded there are other people in the world - and one of them is looking for her baby. Ultimately about the fierceness of love, The Light Between Oceans is perfect reading group fiction in that it prompts the question: when there is no right answer, what should one do?
Agent: Susan Armstrong
Update 29/09/11: Sold following a 9-way auction in the UK to Jane Lawson at Transworld, to Nan Graham at Scribner following a 7-way auction in the US, bought at auction by Blanvalet in Germany, under offer in Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil and Serbia.
Wild Boy has been covered in hair since birth, and life in a travelling freak show is the best he can possibly hope for. Horribly abused by his master, the cruel Augustus Finch, he takes refuge watching people come and go at the fair – and develops a Sherlock Holmes style talent for observation and detection. But when there’s a murder at the fair, Wild Boy becomes a suspect: can he use his powers of deduction to save himself? And will the talented and spunky young acrobat Clarissa Everett be with him – or against him?
Agent: Jo Unwin
Just sold to Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick in the US, under offer in Spain and Italy
Please check back soon for our hot list and full foreign rights list, but if you’d like to check on the rights for your territory, get in touch with our Foreign Rights Team. We’re incredibly excited about our list this year, and it looks like this could be our best Frankfurt Book Fair ever.
27 Sep 2011