Frenzy over debut novel by former car upholsterer

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The Independent Culture

A former car upholsterer who left school at 16 has sold his first novel to the publisher who discovered J K Rowling.

A former car upholsterer who left school at 16 has sold his first novel to the publisher who discovered J K Rowling.

Stuart Hill is tipped to be the next big thing in children's fiction after his fantasy novel, The Cry of the Icemark, was bought by Barry Cunningham, whose company published the first Harry Potter book.

His book was at the centre of a bidding frenzy last week at the Frankfurt Book Fair, when 20 European publishing houses fought for its rights. It has already been bought by Scholastic, which publishes J K Rowling's work in the US, and a film rights deal is in discussion with New Line Cinema, which made The Lord of the Rings.

Mr Hill, 46, failed his 11-plus and left his school in Leicester with no formal qualifications. He began writing as a teenager while he was working as a car trimmer. He later completed an honours degree from Newcastle University.

The Cry of the Icemark, part one of a trilogy, looks set to become next year's hottest seller when it hits the bookshops in January.

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