Gortner Goes to Ballantine... and SMP

Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar Literary closed two deals, at two different houses, for author C.W.Gortner; both deals, per the agency, were for “strong five-figure” sums. Susanna Porter at Ballantine acquired world English rights to Gortner's historical novel Princess Isabella, about the famed Spanish royal and her early reign. (Ballantine published Gortner's 2008 novel, The Last Queen, and is releasing his Confessions of Catherine de Medici in May 2010.) Charlie Spicer at St. Martin's then grabbed North American rights to the first three books in a series called the Spymaster Chronicles. The books, spy mysteries, are set in Tudor England, just before Queen Elizabeth takes the throne.

Crow's Cancer Diet

Kathryn Huck, executive editor at St. Martin's Press, took U.S. and Canadian rights to a cookbook from musician, and cancer survivor, Sheryl Crow. Crow, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, revamped her approach to food and consulted a nutritionist after fighting the disease. In the currently untitled cookbook, which she's writing with her personal chef, Chuck White (who's also been in the employ of stars like Goldie Hawn and the Jonas Brothers), she'll offer easy recipes for food that, according to SMP, will guide readers to “optimal health.” Rebecca Oliver at William Morris Endeavor brokered the deal, and SMP is planning a spring 2011 publication.

Loving Jane

Avon's Lucia Macro bought North American rights, at auction, to Cindy Jones's debut, I'll Find You in Mansfield Park. Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary closed the deal for the book about a woman who, after her mother dies, her boyfriend dumps her and she loses her job, spends a summer at a Jane Austen Literary Festival. Macro said the book “goes right to the heart of the Jane Market,” speaking to the spate of titles by/about the women who adore Austen.

Europa Nabs British Backlister

In a deal for a backlist British almost-prize-winner, Europa Editions has acquired U.S. rights to the 1978 coming-of-age novel God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam. The book, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize when it bowed in the U.K. in '78 (and which was initially published in the U.S. by William Morrow being falling out of print), will now join other Europa editions by Gardam (who's twice won Britain's Costa Book Award, formerly the Whitbread, for best novel of the year). Europa publisher Kent Carroll brokered the deal, for a paperback original, with agent Phyllis Westberg at Harold Ober.

From Bataan to Bellevue

Steve Rubin at Henry Holt took North American rights to a new narrative nonfiction book about Bellevue Hospital by Elizabeth and Michael Norman, authors of the bestselling book on the Bataan death march, Tears in the Darkness (FSG, 2009). The currently untitled book, to be edited by Macmillan editor-at-large John Sterling, will trace the history of Bellevue, the oldest operating public hospital in the country. Per the publisher, it will “reveal the inner workings of a hospital as no book has ever done.” Elizabeth Norman will also bring a special perspective to bear since she was, before becoming a journalist like her husband, a registered nurse. Esther Newberg at ICM brokered the deal.


The Portland, Ore., indie Hawthorne Books has signed a two-book deal with Lidia Yuknavitch for a memoir called The Chronology of Water and a novel, Small Backs of Children. Co-publisher Rhonda Hughes acquired world English and translation rights from Yuknavitch, who did not have an agent in the deal. Yuknavitch was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for her book Real to Reel.