Scholastic Nabs 'Tree Catcher'
Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency sold North American rights, at auction, to Chris Howard's debut effort, The Tree Catcher. Mallory Kass at Scholastic acquired the book, which Rennert described as a "futuristic Huck Finn," after multiple rounds of bidding. In the novel, Howard—an avid outdoorsman who's taught forest ecology at Colorado State and worked for the National Park Service—follows a teen who, in the future, builds trees out of scrap metal for wealthy clients. When the protagonist is shown an old picture by a girl who claims the shot is of the last living trees on the planet, the two embark on a postapocalyptic adventure in what Rennert called a "gypsy-rasta world of killers, pirates, poachers, and opportunists." The novel is scheduled for fall 2012.
Brat Packer Heads ‘Home' for Free Press
Actor-turned-travel-writer Andrew McCarthy sold his memoir, The Longest Way Home: One Man's Global Quest for the Courage to Settle, to Alessandra Bastagli at Free Press. Agent David Kuhn, of Kuhn Projects, brokered the North American rights deal. McCarthy, who rose to fame as a member of the so-called Brat Pack in 1980s films like Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo's Fire, has continued to act while also becoming a noted travel writer, contributing pieces to Travel+Leisure, the Atlantic, and National Geographic Traveler, among others. In his book he explores a different journey—the one he took toward getting married. Free Press said the story will be told through the lens of seven trips McCarthy has taken, or will take, with locales ranging from the Amazon to Kilimanjaro as he "connects his obsession with travel to his phobia of commitment." McCarthy is getting married this summer in Dublin, and the book is scheduled for fall 2012.
Jones Stays With
Andra Miller at Algonquin Books took world rights to Tayari Jones's new novel, Dear History, from agent Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich. The acquisition continues a standing relationship the author has with the North Carolina press; Algonquin just published her novel, Silver Sparrow. Dear History, which follows three generations of the Washington family from 1930 to the present day, is a sweeping account of American history. According to D&G, members of the family witness notable events in the country's formation such as the great migration and the civil rights movement. These events, the agency elaborated, "act as the anchors for the deeply personal narrative of a family that struggles to stay together in an ever-changing world."
Gortner Looks at Lady Borgia for Ballantine
Ballantine has landed a new novel by C.W. Gortner about Lucrezia Borgia, who is one of the subjects of Showtime's new original series about the infamous Italian clan, The Borgias. Susanna Porter took world English rights to the currently untitled book about the 15th-century beauty who was the daughter of the vicious Rodrigo Borgia (who later became Pope Alexander VI) and is rumored, among other things, to have been the lover of both her father and her brother. Gortner was represented by Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar and has had two historical novels published by Ballantine—The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici; he also has a Tudor spy series with St. Martin's Press.
Buckingham Goes In for Two at Macmillan Films
Royce Buckingham sold two books to Brendan Deneen at Thomas Dunne Books. Ken Atchity at Story Merchant brokered the world rights deal. In the first book, a thriller called A Week of Mondays, a Seattle bike messenger loses his job and forgets to make his last delivery, which causes more trouble than the beleaguered hero ever expected. The story originated with Deneen, and Macmillan Films is attached to the project. The second book, The Terminals, to which Macmillan Films is also attached, is a YA novel about a bunch of teenagers with life-threatening diseases who are recruited to complete dangerous missions by a government agency; Deneen called it "a Bourne Identity for the YA crowd."
Page to Screen
Bill Contardi closed two dramatic rights deals last week. In the first, which Contardi handled on behalf of agent Laura Langlie, the Disney Channel optioned the Bloomsbury Children's middle-grade novel by Leslie Margolis, Boys Are Dogs (which is the first in a series), about a sixth-grade girl who gets a canine that provides a respite from the woes of being the new kid in class, for an original TV movie; producers Jane Goldenring ($5 a Day) and Carol Baum (Fly Away Home) are attached. In the second deal, done for agent Irene Skolnick, DreamWorks Animation optioned the Putnam novel by Polly Shulman, The Grimm Legacy, for an animated feature with producer Robin Schorr attached. The book, set in a world where magic exists, follows a girl who gets a job as a page in the New York Circulating Repository, a library that trades in valuables. When the heroine notices that magical objects from the Grimm Brothers collection start to disappear, she and her co-workers set out on an adventure to find the missing stash.