Europa Editions UK has secured Karen Powell's "extraordinary" novel at auction.
Director Christopher Potter has acquired rights for two titles from Samuel Hodder at Blake Friedmann following a two-publisher auction. As well as UK and Commonwealth, Potter bought rights for United States and Italy “such was the strength of our feelings and commitment”. Europa will publish the first novel, THE RIVER WITHIN, in 2020.
“I was bowled over by the poetic intensity of this extraordinary novel,” Potter said. THE RIVER WITHIN is as evocative of place and landscape as any novel I can think of. I believe THE RIVER WITHIN will immediately find its place as a classic in a tradition that includes the novels of Thomas Hardy and Graham Swift.”
Powell said: “I am delighted to be working with an editor of Christopher’s calibre and with Europa Editions – they’re passionate champions of European literary fiction and the quality of their list is ridiculously good.”
For both titles, audio rights for the UK and British Commonwealth (excluding Canada) were sold to WF Howes.
THE RIVER WITHIN is a piercing and evocative novel set in 1950s Yorkshire. On a summer’s day in the village of Starome, the body of young Danny Masters emerges from the river. It’s found by Danny’s three teenage friends: Alexander, the volatile heir to Richmond Hall, the country estate that neighbours Starome, and sister and brother, Lennie and Tom, whose father is secretary to the Richmond family. The friends’ responses to Danny’s death are strange. Why does Alexander seem oddly stimulated, excited even, and why is Lennie so keen for everyone to move on? How did Danny die? Did he fall in, or jump? Or worse? In an interweaving narrative that moves across the months before and after Danny’s death, the secrets of the village begin to surface.
Powell left school at 16, but returned to education as a mature student to study English Literature at Cambridge University. She lives in Yorkshire, and an early draft of THE RIVER WITHIN was awarded a Northern Writers’ TLC ‘New Fiction Reads’ prize, which seeks to support work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the North of England. She subsequently attended the ‘New Writing North’ Summer Talent Salon in 2018, where she secured agent representation from Hodder.