HarperCollins Publishers Australia is excited to announce a major global deal which will see Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton published globally through HarperCollins companies across all major English and translation markets.
The high six-figure deal will see Dalton’s debut novel published in the UK, the US and across twelve other languages in a coordinated global release, which is currently slated for 2019. This is the first time an Australian author has been picked up in the HarperCollins Global Publication Program – other authors published as part of program include Karin Slaughter, Daniel Silva and Don Winslow. The global deal will allow publishing teams around the world to shape a coherent publishing and promotional strategy around the novel.
James Kellow, HarperCollins Australia CEO, said, ‘Boy Swallows Universe is a glorious, original and uniquely Australian piece of storytelling. We’re convinced it heralds the arrival of a major new voice in the Australian market, and we’re delighted to see our sister companies around the world also embracing Trent’s story with such enthusiasm, commitment and belief.’
Jonathan Burnham, President and Publisher at Harper US, said, ‘Once in a publishing blue moon, a novel comes along which stakes out a very special space for itself. It’s usually non-conformist and brave. It breaks the usual templates and creates new rules. And it’s usually a huge bestseller. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Everything is Illuminated, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius among others… it’s a short but powerful list. Boy Swallows Universe falls into this canon. It’s moving, brilliant, quirky, funny, haunting, and opens up new horizons.’
Suzie Dooré, Publishing Director at The Borough Press, said, ‘Trent has a truly unique voice, and we are really excited to be publishing him in the UK, alongside our HarperCollins cousins in the rest of the world. Ever since The Borough Press launched with the Costa‐winning The Shock of The Fall, we have prided ourselves on finding fresh new voices that bring incredible stories to life, and with books like Joanna Cannon’s top‐ten bestselling The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, we know how to make a debut fly. I can’t wait to introduce Eli and Gus to UK readers.’
Translation rights for several other major territories remain in negotiation, with more deals to be announced in the near future. HarperCollins Australia is also fielding significant interest from local and international players for film and theatre rights.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Boy Swallows Universe is a captivating coming-of-age story set in Brisbane’s violent working-class suburban fringe, inspired by the real-life events of journalist Trent Dalton’s complicated youth. It tells the story of thirteen-year-old Eli Bell, who finds comfort in his extraordinary imagination as a means of escaping from his complicated life with a mute brother, a mother in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter.
Surrounded by chaos and with very little moral guidance from the adults around him, Eli sets out on an ambitious suburban odyssey that sees him meet the father he doesn’t remember, break into Boggo Road Gaol to rescue his mum, come face-to-face with the criminals who tore his world apart and fall in love with the girl of his dreams.
At its core, Boy Swallows Universe is a story of brotherhood and the spark of young love; it’s also the unlikely true story of the formative friendship Dalton shared with Arthur ‘Slim’ Halliday, the greatest escape artist ever confined to Brisbane’s Boggo Road Gaol.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Trent Dalton is a staff writer for The Weekend Australian Magazine and a former assistant editor of The Courier Mail. He’s a two-time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, a three-time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four-time winner of the national News Awards’ Features Journalist of the Year. Boy Swallows Universe is his first book.
‘An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air – raw, honest, funny, moving. He has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable’ — David Wenham
‘Enthralling – a moving account of sibling solidarity and the dogged pursuit of love’ — Geoffrey Robertson, QC
‘Oh my God. Wow. It’s just superb. I’ve always looked out for Trent’s work because he has a magic about him: what he sees, how he explains things. He can describe a kitchen table in a way that makes you want to throw your arms around it. After reading Boy Swallows Universe I realise that his genius isn’t really just about writing so much; it’s about hope, and his instinctive and infectious “Yes” to one of the most plaguing questions of the human night: can tenderness survive brutality? This novel confirms Trent Dalton as a genuine treasure of Australian letters’ — Annabel Crabb
‘As a brilliant journalist, Trent Dalton has always intimately understood how fact is often stranger than fiction. Perhaps it took someone like him to produce a novel so humming with truth. Call it a hunch, but I think he might’ve just written an Australian classic’ — Benjamin Law
‘Stunning. My favourite novel for decades. Left me devastated but looking to the heavens’ — Tim Rogers, author of Detours
‘This novel is a raucous, moving, hilarious triumph – a major new voice on the Australian literary scene has arrived’ — Nikki Gemmell, author of The Bride Stripped Bare and After
‘It’s like the kid from The Wonder Years stumbles into a Chopper Read story … Really involving. Really wonderful’ — John Purcell
‘I couldn’t stop reading from the moment I started, and I still can barely speak for the beauty of it. Trent Dalton has done something very special here, writing with grace, from his own broken heart’ — Caroline Overington, author of The One Who Got Away
‘An exhilarating and totally original piece of writing, Boy Swallows Universe is so full of heart and soul … Trent’s a fabulous wordsmith and judge of narrative pace’ — David Gaunt, Gleebooks
‘Boy Swallows Universe is a warm, wonderful, crazy novel that is surely a contender for the Miles Franklin award. I’m very keen to read more fiction from the extremely talented Trent Dalton’ —Karen Ferris, Berkelouw Books
‘Boy Swallows Universe is a truly tremendous read that is written using wonderful “magical realism” imagery versus stark reality narratives, with bonkers Queensland characters and the very best sibling relationship of all time. It is impossible to not love this yarn, and to not feel some sadness, relief and yearning. I’m all in’ — Chris Gordon, Readings
‘Wow!!!! What an amazing book! I can see why everyone is raving; it really is an exceptional stand-out book’ — Dean Allan, Better Read Than Dead