Transworld wins 'heavily contested' auction for debut novel by Melanie Cantor

Claire Coughlan
Rights - Fiction Tuesday, 06 November 2018

Cantor was a celebrity agent and publicist for 30 years; translation rights have sold in nine languages

Transworld has won a "heavily contested" auction for Death and Other Happy Endings, "a smart, sassy romantic comedy" by Melanie Cantor. Susanna Wadeson, publishing director, bought UK and Commonwealth rights including audio from Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown, for publication in hb in June 2019. US rights have gone to Pamela Dorman Books (Penguin Random House), with translation sales so far in Hebrew, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese Simple, Italian World, Russian, Czech, Slovak and Portuguese.

The book opens as 46-year-old Jennifer is told by her GP that she has a rare blood disorder and only three months to live. As her final hurrah, she writes letters to the three people who have hurt her most, telling them the truths that she had never previously expressed. But she learns that truth is not straightforward.

Cantor was a celebrity agent and publicist for 30 years, with clients including Ulrika Jonsson, Melinda Messenger and Melanie Sykes.

Wadeson said: "We found this irresistible. A great voice, smart observations, with the most deliciously satisfying ending. A page-turning, romp of a read, the novel also raises serious universal themes. What would you do if you only had three months to live? How do we discuss death without making it taboo? And can you ever revive a dead love affair? It is intelligent, stylish, romantic - with flashing wit and moments of real poignancy. What more could you want for a summer read?"

Cantor said: "I've gone grey waiting to be published but it's been worth it! Working with Susanna and Pam has been a privilege and to have a new career at 61 proves women have a place no matter what age. I hope Jennifer's story will make readers laugh and cry but also realise its fundamental message that we all need to seize the day."

Photo of Melanie Cantor by Karla Gowlett

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