Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

Hachette acquires Burr crime debut in two-book deal

Hachette has acquired world rights to two crime novels by Canberra debut author Shelley Burr in a ‘hotly contested’ international auction.

The six-figure, two-book deal was struck between Hachette Australia head of fiction Rebecca Saunders, Hodder & Stoughton crime and thriller publisher Jo Dickinson and Sarah McKenzie at Sarah McKenzie Literary Management. US rights were sold to Rachel Kahan at William Morrow by Sarah Brooks at Hachette Australia.

The first book Wake is described by Hachette as ‘a searing crime novel’ about a rural NSW farming community still haunted by the unsolved disappearance of a nine-year-old twin girl 20 years ago.

Saunders said she’d ‘been wanting and waiting to read a rural noir novel as good as Wake since trying to acquire The Dry along with every other publisher in Australia’. ‘I finally found that jewel with Wake, which is not only an unputdownable murder mystery but also a character-driven emotional drama. It’s a powerful and unsparing story of how trauma ripples outward when people’s private tragedies become public property.’

Burr, an alumni of the ACT Writers Hardcopy program and a Varuna fellow, works in environment policy in Canberra and is studying agriculture at the University of New England. In 2019 Wake won the UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award and was shortlisted for the Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award and the Bath Novel Award.

Of the two-book deal, Burr said: ‘The day we sold Wake was completely surreal. Everything happened so fast, it felt like going all the way over on a swing set. The most exciting part was the opportunity to talk to multiple publishers about the book, how they had felt reading it, what they thought worked and didn’t, their vision for it. Getting to choose the right home for my book was an incredible privilege, and I’m so thrilled to be with Hachette Australia, Hodder & Stoughton and William Morrow.’

Wake will be published in Australia in mid-2022.

Image credit: Yen Erikson Media


Category: Local news Rights and acquisitions