UK & Commonwealth rights to Emma Stonex’s stunning debut literary novel, The Lamplighters, have been snapped up by Macmillan / Picador.

The novel, which is due for publication as a super-lead title in Spring 2021, sold to Associate Publisher Francesca Main, at auction.

US & Canadian rights were also hugely sought after. After a multi-way auction in the US, Penguin Random House / Viking snapped up US rights, and Canadian rights sold to HarperCollins Canada.

To date, rights have sold in Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Lithuanian and Portuguese (SA).

A thrilled Francesca Main said of the acquisition: “I was blown away by The Lamplighters. Emma Stonex writes beautifully about the majesty of the sea and the powerful tides of loneliness and grief. The central mystery is utterly compelling, deepening and darkening as each lighthouse keeper’s secrets are revealed. Intoxicating, suspenseful and deeply moving, it’s an unforgettable story of isolation, love, betrayal and obsession. There couldn’t be more excitement about The Lamplighters at Picador and we know it marks the beginning of a thrilling literary career.”

Emma was equally happy: “I am utterly thrilled that The Lamplighters will be published by Picador – my bookshelves are packed with Picador titles and the chance to be published by this imprint is the stuff of dreams. Meeting Francesca cemented this and more in my mind: her intuition, imagination and brilliance is unparalleled, and I cannot picture a more perfect editor and publishing home. I can’t wait to light this lantern together and embark on my new career.”

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters is a story of isolation and obsession, of claustrophobia and savagery, of reality and illusion, and of keeping the light burning when all else is swallowed by dark…

Cornwall, 1972

Three lighthouse keepers go missing from a remote rock miles from the English coast. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped in the living room and kitchen. A table is laid for a meal not eaten. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a storm raging round the tower – but the skies have been clear all week.

What strange fate befell these doomed men? The heavy sea whispers their names. Black rocks roll beneath the surface, drowning ghosts. And out of the swell like a finger of light, the salt-scratched tower stands lonely and magnificent.

Emma Stonex worked as an editor at a major publishing house before she left to write full time. She is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novels under several different pseudonyms, but literary fiction is where her heart is.

She lives in Bristol with her husband and two young daughters.