SWIMMING IN THE DARK, the tender and passionate debut by Tomasz Jedrowski, caused excitement on both sides of the Atlantic in the lead-up to London Book Fair. Set against the decline of communism in Poland in the 1980s, the novel tells a story of first love between two men as they seek moral integrity under a repressive system.
The manuscript garnered much praise from editors in the UK, leading to a hotly-contested six-publisher auction. Alexa von Hirschberg, senior commissioning editor at Bloomsbury secured UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Samuel Hodder. She praised the “seductive and heartbreaking novel, which as well as being a passionate coming-of-age story, also raises profound moral questions”.
Tomasz said: "I could not be more thrilled to be working with Bloomsbury. Their authors have inspired and sustained me throughout my creative journey and it's incredible that SWIMMING IN THE DARK will be published alongside writers who have helped to bring it to life. Many thanks to my agent Samuel Hodder at Blake Friedmann and to Alexa von Hirschberg at Bloomsbury for setting Ludwig's and Janusz's story free in such a gracious and loving way."
Jessica Williams, senior editor at William Morrow, snapped up North American rights as part of an impressive six-figure pre-emptive deal. She told The Bookseller it was a “breath-taking debut”.
“I started SWIMMING IN THE DARK on a cold Saturday afternoon in New York, and immediately disappeared into its sensuous language and the lives of its characters,” she said. “I fell so utterly in love with Tomasz’s storytelling that I finished the book in one sitting, immediately sent a note to my publisher, and offered a pre-empt first thing Monday morning.”
Further auctions saw German rights sold to Hoffman und Campe, Italian rights to Edizioni E/O, and UK and Commonwealth audio rights to Audible. An auction for Dutch rights is ongoing.
Tomasz Jedrowski was born in Germany to Polish parents, but has lived in several countries, speaks five languages, and is a graduate of Cambridge University and Université de Paris. He currently lives in Warsaw but often travels to the UK. SWIMMING IN THE DARK is his first novel.