Erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey catapults unknown Brit writer onto world stage
Story by Jack Foley
AN EROTIC romance novel by a hitherto unknown British author has topped the New York Times best-seller list.
Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James, has reportedly sold out its limited run of the book, while e-book sales have also been soaring.
James, a TV executive and mother-of-two from west London, has now signed a book deal in the US with Random House. Fifty Shades of Grey is the first part of a trilogy along with Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
It tells the tale of a steamy romance between a “successful young entrepreneur” named Christian Grey and an “unworldly, innocent” literature student named Anastasia Steele.
All three novels were initially published by small virtual publishing house The Writer’s Coffee House, based in Australia, and have sold more than 250,000 copies.
Theey have become the talk of the US literary community with word of mouth spreading to social networking forums, prompting Random House’s offprint Vintage Books to strike a deal to release new e-book versions of the trilogy on Monday (March 12, 2012).
In addition, a further 750,000 paperback editions have been ordered.
In a statement released by Vintage, James – who is trying to keep her full name a secret – said Fifty Shades of Grey had taken her on “an extraordinary and wholly unexpected adventure”.
“I’ve heard from so many readers trying to find these books in their local bookshops and libraries. It is gratifying to know that they will soon become widely available in the US and around the world.”
Commenting on the reasoning behind the book’s success, New York Times’ Julia Bosman told the BBC that they have widely been credited with “introducing women who usually read run-of-the-mill literary or commercial fiction to graphic, heavy-breathing erotica”.
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