NAL Gets Saint-ly

Mark Chait at Penguin's New American Library imprint bought North American rights to a book by New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Home Team, which Chris Park at Foundry Literary + Media sold, chronicles the NFL team's inspirational Super Bowl XLIV victory, a win which not only marked the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl ring but, in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, provided a moment of triumph for the team's battered city. (The Saints didn't play the 2005 season in New Orleans because of the storm.) In the book, scheduled for July, Payton shares the stories of the coaches and players, as well as, in the publisher's words, the “everyday heroes he met along the way.”

Houghton Gets Nerdy in Two-Book Deal

Amanda Cook at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt bought two books last week, both from James Levine at Levine Greenberg. In the first deal, Cook took North American rights to Stephen Baker's Final Jeopardy: The Man-Machine Battle for the Future of Our Minds. Baker (The Numerati) examines IBM's quest to build the world's smartest supercomputer—in-house the effort is called “the Watson Project.” The author, per HMH, was given “unique” access to the company's scientists and managers, and the effort is planned to culminate early next year with the supercomputer, aka Watson, taking on whoever is the reigning Jeopardy champion at the time.

Cook also took North American rights to Sebastian Seung's Connectome: A Neuroscientist's Search for the Self. Seung is a computational neuroscientist at MIT and, as his publisher explained, he's currently involved in an effort to map the brain and all its connections. HMH hopes his book will “do for neuroscience what Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe did for physics.”

Putnam Does Ellis Two-fer

Rachel Kahan at Putnam and Leslie Gelbman at Berkley signed North American rights to two new novels in David Ellis's Jason Kolarich series. Ellis, who's the chief legal counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives by day (and worked on the Blagojevich impeachment), just got a nomination for best crime novel from the L.A. Times for The Hidden Man (2009), the first book in the Kolarich series. The second book in the series, already signed, is coming out in early 2011. Agent Susanna Einstein at LJK did the deal.

Whistle-blowing, and Hospital Stays 101

Keith Wallman at Globe Pequot's Lyons Press took world rights to a how-to book with an unexpected subject: whistle-blowing. Wallman, in a deal brokered by agent Rita Rosenkranz, said attorney Stephen Martin Kohn's title, slated for 2011, will be a “layman's guide to the legal dos and don'ts of exposing workplace and government wrongdoing.” Kohn, who recently appeared on 60 Minutes discussing his representation of the UBS tax evasion whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfield, is executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center.

In another deal for a how-to guide, of sorts, Andrew Blauner sold world rights to Person First, Patient Second: Hospital Stay Checklists. Michael Fragnito at Sterling acquired the book, by patient advocate Elizabeth Bailey; the title's scheduled for next spring. Blauner said the book is a “user-friendly guide” that details how you, and your loved ones, can have a safe hospital stay. Bailey, a former music industry exec, is starting grad school at Sarah Lawrence next year, to obtain a master's degree in Health Patient Advocacy.

Women's Movement Re-examined

Peter Richardson, at PoliPointPress, acquired North American rights to historian and Huffington Post blogger Nancy L. Cohen's Cracked: Sex, Politics, and the Unmaking of America. Cohen examines gender relations from the '70s through today and, per agent Jill Marr at Sandra Dijkstra (who brokered the deal), looks at how the opposition to the sexual revolution played a “critical role in remaking American politics.”


Michelle Tessler at Tessler Literary sold Gary Andrew Poole's Manny Pacquiao to Kevin Hanover at Da Capo. The book, which is slated for fall 2010, is the first significant biography of the boxer, a winner of seven world championships (in seven different weight divisions) who was recently named “Fighter of the Decade” by the Boxing Writers Association of America.... SMP's Elizabeth Beier closed a deal for North American rights to Lady Gaga: Critical Mass Fashion, a biography, featuring over 100 photographs of the chameleon-like singer/style icon, by music journalist Elizabeth Goodman. Goodman has been a staffer at Rolling Stone and Blender, and wrote Cat Power: A Good Woman; SMP is planning a September 2010 publication.