Millions writer gets millions for first novel

After Dan Brown’s Inferno, Alfred A Knopf has moved to snap up another fiery book, paying $2 million for Garth Risk Hallberg’s debut novel City on Fire where the film rights were sold before the book was.

Hallberg is a regular writer on the brilliant literary website The Millions website and had a humorous novella published in 2007, A Field Guide to the American Family. He’s gone a bit longer this time as City on Fire runs to around 900 pages and is set in New York in 1977, year of the city’s great blackout.

Several publishers competed for the book which shows confidence is returning to traditional publishing houses as this is one of the biggest deals for some time.

The film rights were signed up by producer Scott Rudin in October and reports are that it will be the first film to be directed by Alex Garland, author of cult book The Beach and screenwriter of 28 Days Later.

Rudin’s production credits include Captain Phillips, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and No Country for Old Men.