Affirm Press is delighted to announce the acquisition of The Safe Place, the hotly contested debut thriller by Central Coast author Anna Downes, in a deal negotiated by Tara Wynne of Curtis Brown Australia.

The Safe Place has been received with great enthusiasm overseas and publishing rights have attracted fierce competition. North American rights have been acquired by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St Martin’s Press, in a deal brokered by Hillary Jacobson at ICM; UK and Commonwealth rights have been sold to Hodder; Dutch, Russian, Hungarian, Croatian, and German rights have also been sold with more rights deals expected in the coming months. Film and TV rights are being handled by Josie Freedman at ICM.

Martin Hughes, Publishing Director at Affirm Press, said:

‘We are so pleased to have signed Anna Downes for two books. Highly original, The Safe Place is a brilliant debut and one of the most captivating thrillers I’ve ever read. And Anna is the complete package as an author – she writes with a kind of magic for creating atmosphere, no doubt shaped by her acting background. She’s also great fun, charismatic, hard-working and very excited to join Australia’s literary community.’

Anna DownesAnna Downes grew up in Sheffield, UK. She studied drama at Manchester before winning a place at the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art and moving to London to pursue an acting career. Her acting credits include EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, and Dalziel and Pascoe, as well as a long-running stage production of The Dresser in London’s West End. In 2010 she left to go travelling with her Australian partner, which included a stint working as a live-in housekeeper on a remote French estate, where the seeds for The Safe Place were sown. Impressively she wrote the entire manuscript while juggling a part-time job and caring for two children under five.

Affirm Press is scheduled to publish The Safe Place in July 2020, at the same time the book is published in the US and the UK.

The Safe Place tells the story of Emily Proudman, a struggling actor whose life is falling apart. When she is offered a job living and working for a wealthy family on their remote estate in France, it seems like the perfect opportunity to start again. But her charismatic new employers are hiding dangerous secrets, and what at first appears to be a dream come true turns out to a be a prison from which none of them will ever escape – unless Emily can find a way to set them all free. Superbly tense and mesmerising, The Safe Place is a deft examination of the lengths we’ll go to project and protect the façade of a perfect life.

Anna Downes said:

‘If you’d told me when I first started writing that in two years’ time I’d be signing multiple publishing deals, I’d have laughed. Loudly. My expectations were extremely low – I had two young kids, zero experience and very little spare time – so to have found a home with Affirm Press is beyond my wildest dreams. I could not be happier or more excited about what’s ahead.’