David Byrne likes to bike. Haruki Murakami loves to run. And Nathan Zuckerman, at the ripe old age of 71, can still pick up younger women. Foreign editors will learn all this and more when they flip through the rights catalogues the American agents and publishers are bringing to the Frankfurt Fair next month. Here, a snapshot of what the big agencies and houses will be pushing in the rights tent.
The AgentsTrident MediaRobert Gottlieb at Trident highlights five big titles that he's expecting to draw crowds to the agency's tables. One of those big titles—and a much-hyped BEA book—is Hachette's I Am America (and So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert. Also on Trident's list is the 2010-slated 15th Stephanie Plum novel from Janet Evanovich; Sword of God (Berkley, Oct. 2007), a thriller by Sign of the Cross author Chris Kuzneski about the manhunt for a terrorist who escapes on U.S. soil; Edgar winner T. Jefferson Parker's L.A. Outlaws (Putnam, Feb. 2008), about an L.A. high school teacher leading a double life as a thief; and international bestseller Paullina Simons's The Road to Paradise (HarperCollins UK, spring 2008; HC Australia, Nov. 2007), about three women—two high school friends and one mysterious hitchhiker—who travel from New York to California in 1981, each searching for different things.William MorrisDirector of international rights Tracy Fisher talks up two projects “among many” that the agency will be pushing overseas. The first, an untitled story collection by Dartmouth and Yale Law grad Daniyal Mueenuddin (a native of Pakistan who practiced law in New York City), has just gone on submission in the U.S. and is, according to the agency, reminiscent of “Faulkner, Anderson and Turgenev.” The linked tales recount the lives of the workers and masters on a Pakistani farm. WM's other big book, in the nonfiction category, is Edward Glaeser's The Language of Cities. Currently on submission in the U.S.—at press time a deal had not been finalized—it's an examination of the modern city by the Harvard urban economist.InkWell ManagementSusan Hobson, InkWell's codirector of subsidiary rights, points to a number of titles the agency will be peddling. On the fiction side, there's Carol Cassella's Oxygen, a debut novel about an anesthesiologist that S&S will publish in 2008. (So far, Norwegian rights have been preempted by Damm.) There's also Barefoot author Elin Hilderbrand's A Summer Affair. (Little, Brown is publishing in 2008 and rights have sold to Little, Brown UK and Mondadori in Italy.) Finally, for fiction, there's Christopher Reich's Rules of Deception, a thriller about an American physician in Switzerland. (Doubleday is publishing in summer 2008; rights have been sold in nine territories, with a film option at Paramount.) On the nonfiction side, there's David Sanger's Inheritance:The World Ahead, a description of “hot spots” around the globe, written by the chief Washington correspondent for the New YorkTimes as an imagined memo to the president. (Harmony is publishing here in fall 2008.)ICMICM's highlights include new books from Thomas Friedman and Haruki Murakami, among other heavy hitters. The agency has Friedman's Green Is the New Red, White and Blue, a manifesto from The World Is Flat author about why America needs to embrace environmentalism. Then there's The Fall of the House of Bush by Craig Unger, author of House of Bush, House of Saud. (S&S is publishing in the U.S.) Murakami's new one, What I Think About, is a memoir about the Japanese author's late-in-life love affair with running. And in a memoir described as “The Year of Magical Thinking meets A Round-Heeled Woman,” Anne Roiphe deals with the aftermath of her husband's death and the personal ad her daughters placed in the NYRB on her behalf. On the fiction side, the agency has Patricia Cornwell's Book of the Dead, the 15th book featuring Kay Scarpetta; Alan Furst's new espionage novel, The Spies of Warsaw; Siri Hustvedt's The Sorrows of an American; and Dear American Airlines, a debut novel from Jonathan Miles, written in the form of a complaint letter to the friendly skies operator.Ed VictorAside from the big book that Ed Victor's bringing to Germany—Keith Richards's memoir, which was the talk of LBF and went to Little, Brown in the U.S. for (reportedly) more than $7 million—director of foreign rights Sophie Hicks notes four other titles that the company is particularly excited about: Charles Maclean's thriller Home Before Dark, about a father hunting for his daughter's killer (rights have been sold to Hodder in the U.K.; Mynx in Holland; and Azbooka in Russia); Gyles Brandreth's The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries (S&S is publishing in the U.S., John Murray in the U.K.; and rights have also been sold in France, Spain, Italy, Romania and Greece); a new novel from Jack Higgins called The Killing Ground (Putnam will publish in the U.S. in early 2008, and HarperCollins is publishing in the U.K.); and, last but not least, the nonfiction Ocean Devil by James McManus. This one's about a journalist who leads a group of Chinese kids through the mountains of North China to escape the Japanese army in 1944; it will be published by HarperCollins UK in March 2008 and a movie is already in the works, for release next autumn.Jean V. NaggarMollie Glick cites three books that the agency will be selling overseas. The Wolf Chronicles by Dorothy Hearst is the first in a three-book series of novels about the coevolution of dogs and humans; Glick dubs it “Clan of the Cave Bear meets Watership Down.” (S&S preempted the series in the U.S. and will publish the first book in August; sales have been closed in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Holland.) The agency also has a first novel from Christopher Gortner, The Last Queen, that fictionalizes the life of Juana la Loca, the last legitimate queen of Spain. (Random House bought the novel in a two-book deal and rights have been sold in the U.K., Spain and Italy. Coagents will be shopping the book at the fair.) The final big book, which Richard Nash will be selling during his first Frankfurt with Counterpoint, is R.M. Kinder's An Absolute Gentleman, a debut novel about an English professor with a dark secret.Writers HouseSimon Lipskar is excited about Jonathan Tropper's new book, How to Talk to a Widower. Delacorte published it in July, and it's a Richard & Judy pick in England; it has also been sold to a number of countries in Europe. Tropper will be at the fair, supporting the book's German publication. The other book Lipskar expects to sell quickly is Dan Vyleta's Pavel & I. The debut (which the agency also brought to the LBF), set in postwar Berlin and following the intersecting lives of an American and German in the city, will be published simultaneously by Bloomsbury in the U.S. and the U.K. in spring 2008; according to Lipskar, the book has “gone for major, major money” in auctions in Italy and Spain, with others soon to close.Wylie AgencyAndrew Wylie touts six of his most exciting projects. Tahmima Aman—a young Bangladeshi woman and Harvard grad—has a debut novel, A Golden Age. In Ma Jian's Beijing Coma, a college student involved in the 1989 uprising at Tiananmen Square falls into a coma, only to wake up years later in a very different China. From film director (and wife of actor Daniel Day-Lewis) Rebecca Miller, there's The Private Lives of Pippa, about a 50-year-old wife and mother whose life is shaken up when her husband decides to move the couple from their Manhattan apartment to a retirement home. Wylie is also shopping the final installment in Philip Roth's Nathan Zuckerman series, and the author's 28th book, Exit Ghost (Houghton Mifflin, Oct. 2007). On the nonfiction side, Wylie has a quirky memoir from Talking Heads frontman David Byrne called Bicycle Diaries, about the musician's bike trips through eight major cities. And in Benazir Bhutto's Reconciliation, the first female prime minister of Pakistan argues that extremism is not inherent to Islam.Donadio & OlsonAgent Ira Silverberg highlights three books: Chuck Palahniuk's Snuff (which was shopped by the agency at the LBF), about two male porn stars who run into each other before filming a “record-breaking gangbang”; The Confessions of Jack Moon by Fae Myenne Ng (which Hyperion is publishing in the U.S.), about revenge and forgiveness in a Chinese-American family in San Francisco; and Neil Strauss's The Rules of the Game, a two-book package, following up the bestseller The Game, with the first book detailing how a guy can land a girl in 30 days and the next book showing the underside of the pickup-artist lifestyle. (HarperCollins is publishing in the U.S., and rights have been sold in the U.K., Australia and Denmark.)The Crawford AgencyChandler Crawford, who will be handling books repped by Amy Rennert of the Rennert Agency in Frankfurt, cites three titles: Jacqueline Winspear's An Incomplete Revenge, the fifth Maisie Dobbs mystery, which Holt published in February 2007; Peter Greenberg's Travel Detective Bible, which Rodale is publishing in October 2008; and Rodale's March 2008 bio of Nancy Pelosi by Marc Sandalow, Madam Speaker.Curtis BrownThe agency highlights Jeff Abbott's Collision, due from Dutton in June 2008. Dubbed an “ultra-Hitchcockian” thriller by the agency, it's already been translated into 15 languages. On the nonfiction side, there's Christina Binkey's Winner Takes All, due in March 2008 from Hyperion. In it, the WSJ journalist chronicles the race to invest in Vegas. And from Po Bronson there's an untitled book about parenting, expanded from his New York magazine article “Praise Is Dangerous,” scheduled for fall 2009 from Twelve.Sterling LordAgent Marcy Posner has Micah Toub's Growing Up Jung, a memoir about being raised by two Jungian shrinks; Norton has U.S. rights and Doubleday Canada has Canadian. Your Hands Are Kissed Many Times is a nonfiction exploration of life in Budapest during WWII by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, the daughter of a Hungarian diplomat; Spiegel & Grau is publishing Stateside. Posner also has a new book by Mary Gaitskill that Pantheon just published in the U.S.: Circling My Mother, a memoir about the author's difficult relationship with her mom.