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What will the American agents be pushing in the rights tent? Among this year's offerings are Martin Amis's "most ferocious antihero," Nelson Mandela's journals, John Grisham's latest Confession, David Bowie's stuff, Jon Stewart's guide to Earth (and Earthlings), and Ken Follett's Giants.
Curtis Brown/Gelfman Schneider
Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider is handling Peggy Hesketh's Telling the Bees (Putnam, summer 2011), a literary mystery narrated by an 80-something beekeeper. CB also has Melanie Gideon's debut, Wife 22 (Ballantine, fall 2010), about a woman in the throes of a midlife crisis who has a reawakening after participating in an anonymous survey about marital satisfaction; rights sold in France and Holland. From Suzanne Ruta is To Algeria, with Love, about an American woman who meets an Algerian man while studying abroad in the south of France in 1961 and tries to reconnect with him decades later to heal old wounds; rights sold in Italy and the U.K. From Cornell physics professor Paul McEuen, who the agency calls "one of the leading researchers in nanoscience," is the debut thriller, Spiral (Dial, Mar. 2011), about a professor racing against the clock to stop the spread of a deadly bioweapon; rights sold in Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Russia, Spain, the U.K., and other countries. The agency also has Nelson Mandela's Conversations with Myself (FSG, Oct. 2010), his collection of personal papers; rights have sold in various countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, and the U.K.
DeFiore & Co.
The agency has the first novel from My Fair Lazy and Such a Pretty Fat author Jen Lancaster, Apocalypse House (NAL, spring 2011). From crime writer Jason Starr is The Pack (Berkley/Ace, summer 2011), the first book in a new paranormal series. There's Dr. Neal Barnard's The 21-Day Weight-Loss Kickstart (Grand Central, spring 2011), which is tied to a PBS special. The agency is also still selling foreign rights to one of the buzzed-about books from last year's fair, Benjamin Hale's debut, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve, Feb. 2011), aka the chimp memoir; rights have sold in China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the U.K. And from Tom Ryan is Following Atticus (Morrow, fall 2011), a memoir in which a former journalist tries to climb all of New Hampshire's peaks with his miniature schnauzer.
Sandra Dijkstra Literary
The California agency has Adrienne Sharp's True Memoirs of Little K (FSG, Nov. 2010), a novel that tells the story of the fictional Mathilde Kschessinka, the mistress of the last czar; rights sold in Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. From Lisa See is Dreams of Joy (Random House, June 2011), which picks up where the author's bestselling 2009 novel, The Shanghai Girls, left off. From Cosmo editor-in-chief Kate White is The Sixes (Harper, fall 2011), about a teacher whose job turns deadly when bodies and secrets start bubbling up in the sleepy town where she's just moved. The agency also has Andrew Cooper's Oil Kings (S&S, May 2011), in which the author used information found in the previously classified papers of Brent Scowcroft—who worked on national security issues for Nixon, Ford, and Bush—to piece together "the puzzle of the connection between U.S. oil diplomacy, the fall of the Shah and the rise of theocracy there." From comics artist and journalist Ted Rall is The Afghan Notebook (Hill and Wang, fall 2011), in which the author chronicles his most recent trip to Afghanistan, 10 years after he first visited for his graphic travelogue, To Afghanistan and Back.
Dystel & Goderich
On the adult side, D&G has Raziel (Pocket, Jan. 2011), a debut by Kristina Douglas featuring a sexy, fallen angel; rights sold in Thailand. On the nonfiction side the agency will be pushing The Arrogance Cycle (Globe Pequot, late 2011/early 2012), Michael Farr's look at superiority and "the presumptuous claims that accompany boom periods and precipitate busts." The agency has three big YA titles: the graphic novel series being adapted from Richelle Mead's bestselling Vampire Academy books (Grosset & Dunlap, spring 2011). Then there's Emma Carlson Berne's Still Waters, a thriller by the author of Hard to Get. And from Emily Wing Smith is Back When You Were Easier to Love (Dutton, Apr. 2011), about a high schooler trying to deal with a sudden breakup.
Foundry Literary + Media
Foundry will be shopping Ernie Cline's Ready Player One (Crown, Sept. 2011), in which the world's wealthiest man and owner of an online gaming company dies, leaving an "Easter egg" in one of his multiplayer online games so that the person who finds it will inherit his fortune. The agency calls the novel "Willy Wonka set in the gamer world of the future"; rights sold in Brazil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, and deals pending in France and the U.K. From Kevin Fox is Notes for the Next Time (Algonquin, winter 2011), about a 21-year-old Irish-American slacker who's compelled to research his family history after his long-lost uncle, a former NYPD cop, leaves him his journal. From Dan O'Malley is The Rook (Little, Brown, spring 2011), which follows a woman who comes to in a London rainstorm having lost her memory and holding a mysterious letter that begins: "The body you are wearing used to be mine"; rights sold in China, Italy, and Taiwan. On the nonfiction front the agency has Michael Erard's Babel No More (Free Press, Jan. 2012), which explores how hyperpolyglots, aka "massive multilinguals," can do what they do; Foundry says the book is "part scientific detective story, part travelogue, and part valentine to anyone who's ever studied a foreign language." From Grant Morrison is Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero (Spiegel & Grau, June 2011), in which the one-time writer of Superman and Batman explores the premise that superheroes have become our modern-day Greek gods; rights sold in Italy and the U.K.. On the YA front, Foundry has Jack Ferraiolo's Sidekicks (Abrams/Amulet Books, spring 2011), a middle-grade novel told from the perspective of superhero Phantom Justice's sidekick, Bright Boy. And from Lauren Oliver is Delirium (Harper, Feb. 2011), the first title in a trilogy that's been pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Brave New World and is set in a world where love is considered a disease and every 18-year-old endures a procedure to have the ability to feel the emotion removed; rights sold in China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Taiwan, and the U.K.
The Gernert Company
The agency will be shopping a new one from one of its biggest clients, John Grisham, selling rights to The Confession (Doubleday, Oct. 2010). From Hillary Jordan is Red (Algonquin, fall 2011), a dystopian novel inspired by The Scarlet Letter from the author of Mudbound. Then there's Sarah Kate Lynch's Dolci di Love (Plume, May 2011), about, as the agency puts it, "love, loss, marriage, affairs, babies, sisters, mothers, cantucci, and the most crotchety bunch of matchmakers you've ever encountered." From Peter Behrens is Calling Me Through Thunder (Pantheon), a family saga set during the first half of the 20th century; Canadian rights sold. And from Paul Harper is Pacific Heights (Holt, summer 2011), the first in a series of psychological thrillers set in San Francisco and featuring the intelligence operative Marten Fane; rights sold in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the U.K. and British Commonwealth. On the nonfiction side is game designer Jane McGonigal's Reality Is Broken (Penguin Press, Jan. 2011), a take on how "we can harness the power of games to solve real world problems."