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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Seth memoirs spark bidding war
Vikram Seth
Seth's book will tell the remarkable story of his great uncle and aunt
Author Vikram Seth has signed a publishing deal reportedly worth 1.3m to write his memoirs.

The celebrated author of A Suitable Boy was at the centre of a bidding war involving 10 publishers.

The winner Little, Brown - an imprint of Time Warner Books - said it had signed Seth after a "hotly contested" auction.

The book Two Lives, due to be published in autumn 2005, tells the story of his great uncle Shanti, an Indian, and aunt Henny, a German Jew, who met in pre-war Germany as Hitler came to power.

He brings warmth, vitality and a profound enriching humanity to all his writing
Richard Beswick, publisher
Seth lived with the couple in north London during his adolescence and came to love them deeply.

Little, Brown publishing director Richard Beswick described Seth as a genius and a unique writer.

"I have wanted the company to publish Vikram Seth ever since bidding for - and losing - his masterpiece A Suitable Boy 11 years ago.

"He brings warmth, vitality and a profound enriching humanity to all his writing."

Mr Beswick said Seth had been signed solely on the reputation of A Suitable Boy, which has sold a million copies worldwide.

The publisher had not seen even a draft manuscript of the memoirs, but this was unnecessary because of Seth's stature as a writer.

According to the Daily Telegraph Little, Brown paid Seth an advance estimated at 1.3m.

Spokeswomen for both the publisher and Seth's literary agency, Curtis Brown, refused to confirm the amount.

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