Stock photo of person reading on the beach. Photo: ThinkStock

What are the new sensations in the book world this coming year? Feel-good yarns about guys with Asperger's, amazing true-ish stories from history, and a monster apocalypse.
That's what you might deduce from the dramatic debuts of two Australian authors and some hopefuls overseas. The local stars are Graeme Simsion, whose ''classic screwball romance'' The Rosie Project (Text, March) has been sold into more than 30 countries; and Hannah Kent, who scored a seven-figure offer for Burial Rites (Picador, May), a novel about the last woman to be beheaded, in Iceland in 1830.
Meanwhile, in the wake of Justin Cronin's vampires, monsters stalk the earth in Ben Percy's Red Moon (Hodder & Stoughton, May) and Max Brooks's World War Z (Bloomsbury, April), a cult novel first released in 2006 and given new zombie life by the film tie-in edition.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert. Author Elizabeth Gilbert. Photo: Getty Images
And if you're looking for the next J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury claims to have found her: Samantha Shannon, signed on for six dystopian novels with film rights sold while she was still an Oxford undergraduate. The first book, The Bone Season, is out in September.
Below are more highlights in adult books for 2013.

Poet and children's writer Lisa Gorton. Poet and children's writer Lisa Gorton. Photo: Roger Cummins
Publishers are constantly looking for the next big thing, but in literature it's often longevity that counts. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold comes a new novel from John le Carre, A Delicate Truth (Viking, May) described as ''a furiously paced story of moral dilemma, personal guilt, bold action and unexpected love''.
Ever wondered what happened to that poor terrorised psychic boy in The Shining? After 36 years, Stephen King has a sequel, Doctor Sleep (Hodder & Stoughton, November). Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert has her first novel for 12 years, The Signature of All Things (Bloomsbury, October). And in Australia, Blanche d'Alpuget has her first novel out for 20 years: The Young Lion (HarperCollins, September) is about intrigue and passion in the royal court of 12th-century France.
Indeed, there's a strong trend towards novels based on the lives of real people. Australian novelist Steven Carroll has the second book in his T.S. Eliot series, A World of Other People (Fourth Estate, May). Kate Manning's My Notorious Life by Madame X (Bloomsbury, July) is about a scandalous New York abortionist. Kate Forsyth's Wild Girl (Random House, April) is a story of the girl who loved Wilhelm Grimm. Therese Anne Fowler's Z (Two Roads, March) is a novel about Zelda Fitzgerald. There are Australian novels about Miles Franklin (Maggie MacKellar's Miles, Random House, September) and the bushranger Ben Hall (Trevor Shearston's The Game, Allen & Unwin, August).
Overseas highlights include Margaret Atwood's final novel in the Oryx and Crake trilogy, MaddAddam (Bloomsbury, September); a third novel from The Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini, and The Mountains Echoed (Bloomsbury, May); Lionel Shriver's Big Brother (Fourth Estate, May); Kate Atkinson's Life After Life (Random House, May); and a new Julian Barnes work (Random House, no date yet).