Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Debut ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ sells in 19 territories

Australian author Holly Ringland’s forthcoming debut novel, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (HarperCollins), has sold into 19 territories.

Ringland’s debut is a coming-of-age story about a young girl, Alice, who has a deep connection to the Australian landscape and the language of native Australian flowers.

HarperCollins acquired Australian and New Zealand rights to the book—then titled ‘The Centre is Red’in December 2016 in a five-way auction negotiated by Benython Oldfield at Zeitgeist Media Group.

Oldfield told Books+Publishing that the Zeitgeist Brussels office acted quickly after the five-way auction to ensure that early manuscripts were sent to ‘trusted European editors’, resulting in a six-figure offer from Random House Germany’s Limes imprint.

UK rights to the book were sold in a pre-empt to Pan Macmillan Mantle in January 2017.

‘Editors in Europe started talking to each other and the floodgates of interest opened,’ said Oldfield. ‘Europeans are more open to Australian books than the Americans so it’s a great place to start a global campaign of sales.’

Oldfield said rights sales for Alice Hart were comparable to Brooke Davis’ Lost & Found, Courtney Collins’ The Burial and Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones. ‘All these novels have universal themes but they also all depict regional Australia. It goes without saying that rural and regional Australia is extremely exotic for the rest of the world. It’s what they would like to believe Australia is … but the main appeal of the story is in the feisty character Alice Hart,’ said Oldfield.

Oldfield also credited the international sales to ‘the multilingual Zeitgeist Brussels office’ and its director Sharon Galant who sells direct in France and the UK and ‘manages an army of sub-agents’. ‘Australia is still an outpost to many international publishers but when you have a call in your language professing the worth of an Australian book, editors take notice,’ said Oldfield.

The book has sold to House of Anansi in Canada, Luitingh-Sijthoff in the Netherlands, Garzanti in Italy, Editions Fayard in France, Salamandra in Spain and Latin America, Porto Editora in Portugal and Marginesy in Poland. Rights have also sold into Catalonia, Israel, Turkey, Japan, Serbia, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart will be published in Australia and New Zealand on 19 March, with an extensive author tour through more than 50 bookstores in April and May.


Category: Local news Rights and acquisitions