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Number of publishers Virago saw off pursuing The Engagements by J Courtney Sullivan


Lisa Campbell

Kobo has acquired French digital software company Aquafadas for an undisclosed sum in a move designed to bring illustrated e-books and magazines and enhanced titles in “rich media” to its platform. Aquafadas, based in Montpellier,

currently develops software for digital publishing to tablets and smartphones, software for animations and video creation and specialises in the digital comics market. Kobo’s European vice-president of

content and merchandising, Michael Tamblyn, said: “It will be the best experience for reading magazines in

digital form and enables publishers to create enhanced books with assets such as embedded animation.” Te company is keen to work with publishers globally to develop titles such as illustrated books, children’s books, graphic novels and comics following the acquisition. Aquafadas c.e.o. Claudia Zimmer said:

“We will benefit significantly from this partnership and ramp up development to deliver more innovative tools. By working together to further enhance the Kobo product line-up the creation of rich-media content, Kobo and Aquafadas will take digital reading to a new level.” Te company is also announcing its

self-publishing platform, Writing Life, is to be made available in five extra languages.


Faber has acquired a new novel from art historian turned author Iain Pears, which will be released in app form six months before the print version is published. Henry Volans, Faber’s head of digital,

described it as a “natively digital novel in how it is written, edited and read” that Faber had long been seeking. He added: “Iain’s project does not seek to be digital for the sake of it, instead it enables Iain to tell stories as he has always wished to do.” Te novel, Arcadia, takes the form of

a purpose-built app for different mobile devices, and is made up of a mix of genres, periods and styles, with readers gaining different understandings of the novel depending on the order in which they access the narrative. Pears’ novels include Te Instance of

the Fingerpost, Stone’s Fall and a series of mysteries with art historian/ detective Jonathan Argyll. He described digital publishing as

“scary” but said it provided the unique flexibility he wanted. “Arcadia is, first and foremost, a story. But to work it needs the flexibility which only a digital format can provide. Fortunately, the Volans

editors at Faber immediately grasped what I am trying to do, and rather than trying to force the project back into more orthodox publishing formats, have enthusiastically offered to help.” Arcadia is planned for digital launch

in autumn 2013, with a revised print and e-book edition in spring 2014. Faber has world English language

rights to the app edition, with agent Felicity Bryan handling US rights. Translation rights will be handled by Andrew Nurnberg Associates.


New languages in Kobo’s

self-publishing platform


ENGAGING WIN FOR VIRAGO Virago has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in The Engagements by J Courtney Sullivan, seeing off 15 other publishers. Associate publisher Ursula Doyle bought the title, and one other, for a high six-figure sum through US agent Danny Baror of Baror International, with interest also from Italy, Serbia and Denmark, and the book selling in the US to Knopf, and to Novo Conceito in Brazil for a six-figure pre-empt. Doyle described the book as being “epic in scope”, “stylish” and “a hugely involving and appealing novel about the invention of modern marriage”.


Hutchinson has triumphed in the best bids auction for The Strong Man by former Aitken Alexander foreign rights agent Dea Brøvig, with senior editor Sarah Rigby buying UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in the novel for a five-figure sum from Sophie Lambert at Tibor Jones. The novel follows 15-year-old Else Dybdahl as a circus arrives in her remote Norwegian village, and again 30 years later when a figure from the past forces her to confront a truth.

project does not seek to be digital for the sake of it, instead it enables Iain to tell stories as he has always wished to

do” Henry Volans, Faber’s head of digital



William Heinemann has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to Completion, a début novel by Independent journalist Tim Walker. Publishing director Jason Arthur signed the book at auction from Jane Finigan at Lutyens & Rubinstein, and plans to publish in 2013, describing it as a “sharp, sardonic, perceptive and painfully funny book about money, love, sex, and the sorrows and joys of family life”.


Penguin imprint Viking has bagged The Separation by Dinah Jefferies, with publishing director Venetia Butterfield buying world rights to the novel, excluding translation rights in France and Germany, through Charlotte Hardman at Hardman Swainson. Penguin have now sold rights in Italy to Newton Compton and in Norway to Vigmostad & Bjorke. French rights went to Press de la Cite in a pre-empt, and to Bastei Luebbe in a six-way auction in Germany.


The Bodley Head has acquired Wounded: A New History of the Western Front by Emily Mayhew, with publishing director Stuart Williams pre- empting rights in the First World War title. Williams bought world English language rights from Imogen Pelham at Aitken Alexander Associates, with plans to publish in autumn 2013, ahead of the centenary of the conflict in 2014.


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