We are over the moon that James Gould-Bourn’s warm and witty debut novel Keeping Mum has been sold at auction to Trapeze. UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) were sold to commissioning editor Katie Brown by Joanna Swainson in a two-book deal. The endearing story has gained interest, with auctions taking place in Germany (Kiepenheuer & Witsch), Italy (Mondadori) and China (Ruyi Xinxin). US rights were pre-empted by Kara Watson at Scribner, as well as in France (Livre de Poche) and Serbia (Evro Giunti). Recently rights have also been sold to Shogakukan in Japan.

Keeping Mum follows Danny, who has lost his wife, his job on a building site, and he is about to lose his home. ‘Worst of all though, he’s losing his son, Will, who hasn’t spoken since his mum died 14 months earlier in a car crash. Danny doesn’t know how to reach him.’ Keeping Mum is ‘a sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes sad, always poignant and ultimately uplifting story of a father and son overcoming their grief in the most unlikely of circumstances.’ It will be published by Trapeze in hardback, ebook and audio in spring 2020.

Brown said: “As soon as I read the first few pages of this gorgeous novel, I knew I had to publish it. James is a talented comic storyteller, who is equally gifted at writing scenes with emotional heft; Keeping Mum made more than one of my colleagues cry in public. I am delighted that James chose Trapeze as the home for his very special debut novel, and I cannot wait to bring it to as many readers as possible.”

Gould-Bourn said: “I am so chuffed that Trapeze and Orion will be publishing Keeping Mum. I’ve been grinning like a muppet since I first spoke to Katie Brown, whose obvious passion and enthusiasm left me absolutely convinced that my novel would be in the very best of hands with her and her brilliant team.”

James Gould-Bourn is a novelist and screenwriter from Manchester, England. After several years working for landmine removal organisations in Africa and the Middle East, he decided to enrol on the Faber Academy’s six-month Write a Novel course in London. Since then he’s been busy working on his debut novel, which will be published in spring 2020. He currently lives in Vilnius, Lithuania.