The Australia and New Zealand rights to The Good Mayor, the debut novel by Andrew Nicoll, a Scottish Parliament correspondent for a daily newspaper, have been sold following a hotly contested auction to HarperCollins.
The novel, which has already been named by Waterstone’s as its Scottish Book of the Month for May, is published next month by Edinburgh-based independently owned publishing house Black & White.
The sale of the Australia and New Zealand rights means that Mr Nicoll will now take pride of place on a celebrated HarperCollins author list alongside such distinguished writers as Lionel Shriver, Michael Gruber and Douglas Coupland.
Campbell Brown, Black & White Publishing Managing Director, said, “We’re delighted to secure the sale of the Australia and New Zealand rights to The Good Mayor, following considerable interest in the title at the London Book Fair.
“The Good Mayor is currently on submission in all territories and garnering serious interest from countries throughout the world following a series of rave reports from UK literary scouts. We are also at an advanced stage of securing the sales of both audio and large print rights for the title.”
The flurry of interest from publishers internationally in The Good Mayor sends a message of hope to any first time writer who has been on the receiving end of rejection letters from publishers. Mr Nicoll received the all-important phone call offering him a book deal from Black & White just ten days before a self-imposed two-year deadline to publish the book.
Mr Nicoll said, “It took me 18 months to write The Good Mayor, two years to find a publisher and a year to finally see it in print – but with the sale of the Australia and New Zealand rights and other interest generated in the book – it seems well worth the wait.
“I can’t wait to see the book on the shelf of my local bookshop, but to think that it will soon be on the shelf of bookshops on the other side of the world is far beyond my wildest dreams!”
Described as a love story and a story about love, The Good Mayor was written on the train journey to and from Broughty Ferry, where Mr Nicoll lives, and Edinburgh, where he works at the Scottish Parliament after he woke one morning with a great idea for a story and started to put pen to paper.
Set in the little town of Dot in a forgotten part of the Baltic, The Good Mayor tells the story of Tibo Krovic, the good and honest Mayor of Dot, and his love for his secretary, the beautiful, lonely, but married, Mrs Agathe Stopak.
Already championed by Andrew Marr of Start the Week Radio 4 as, “a triumph of tone, very moving, completely convincing”, The Good Mayor is a story of love, loss, magic, friendship, wonderful food, a brass band, an Italian witch, a large lawyer, an occasional dog and a car chase that takes place at walking pace.
After a brief stint as a lumberjack, Andrew Nicoll has spent his working life in daily newspapers.
The Good Mayor is published on 7th May in paperback by Edinburgh-based independently owned publishing house Black & White at