Ross Re-ups with FSG

FSG editor-in-chief Eric Chinski has signed National Book Critics Circle Award—winner Alex Ross to a new two-book deal; Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbit sold North American rights. Based on Ross's New Yorker essays, Listen to This will introduce basic musical concepts in a broader conversation about classical and pop music; pub date is 2010. The second book in the deal is Wagnerism: How a Composer Shaped the Modern World, to be a major work exploring the myth of Richard Wagner and his impact on modern art, politics and culture. Pub date for that title hasn't been determined yet. The NBCC-anointed The Rest Is Noise, also a Pulitzer finalist, won the Guardian First Book Award.

Elsewhere at FSG, publisher Jonathan Galassi bought world rights to Amanda Vaill's Hotel Florida: Love and Death in Spain, 1936—1939 via Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit. Vaill, the author of previous biographies of Gerald and Sara Murphy and Jerome Robbins, will focus on three couples—writers Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway; photojournalists Robert Capa and Gerda Taro; and Republican censors Arturo Barea and Ilsa Kulcsar—whose intertwined lives tell the story of the Spanish Civil War. During the course of the war, numerous other notables, including John Dos Passos, Antoine de St. Exupery and Kim Philby, passed through this Madrid hotel. FSG has world rights, and publication is scheduled for 2012.

Harmony Signs the Wolfman

Harmony's Julia Pastore preempted North American rights to an untitled memoir by Shaun Ellis, star of Animal Planet's documentary series Living with the Wolfman, via Dan Conaway at Writers House, who made the deal on behalf of U.K. agent Jane Turnbull. Ellis will describe how he came to study the behavior of wolves by living among them as an active member of the pack, and will explore what the experience has taught him. Penny Junor, who collaborated with Patti Boyd on the Harmony bestseller Wonderful Tonight, will co-write, and pub date is fall 2009.

Waste Not, Want Not

Da Capo senior editor Renee Sedliar bested three other bidders in an auction for Jonathan Bloom's American Wasteland; Lynn Johnston sold world rights. In the book, the founder of will write an account of food waste in the U.S., reexamining our culture of excess and offering practical tips for reducing waste.

Car Trouble

Henry Ferris at Morrow bought a new book by Bill Vlasic about the crisis in the auto industry; Jane Dystel sold North American rights. Vlasic, Detroit bureau chief for the New York Times, is also the author of Taken for a Ride, about the merger between Daimler Benz and Chrysler in 2000, also published by Morrow. Pub date for the new book, currently untitled, is early 2010.

Two for Touchstone

Trish Grader at Touchstone was the victor in an auction for Doug Magee's first novel, Where on Earth, in a two-book deal with Ann Rittenberg, who sold North American rights. The suspense novel opens as a mother sees her child off to camp for the first time. She then prepares to spend the next two weeks addressing problems in her marriage, but 10 minutes later, a second van arrives to pick up her daughter, and no one at the camp has any knowledge of the first van or its driver. Rittenberg discovered Magee after donating the reading of a manuscript to a fund-raiser for a charity; Magee was the winner.

Also at Touchstone, Trish Todd made a two-book deal with Elizabeth Noble via Jonathan Lloyd at Curtis Brown UK. The first novel in the deal, The Girl Next Door, follows the inhabitants of a New York City co-op building as they search for love, happiness and the meaning of home. Noble is the author of several previous novels, most recently published by HarperCollins, and is also married to Hachette Book Group chairman and CEO David Young. Touchstone has U.S. rights to the new books.

Keeping Your Cool

Adrienne Schultz at Portfolio beat two other bidders for world rights to Paul Sullivan's Clutch; Erika Storella at Gernert negotiated the deal. Sullivan, who writes regularly for the New York Times business section and Condé Nast Portfolio, will examine who is clutch in sports and business and what we can learn from them. Pub date is 2010.

YA Fiction Winners

Alexandra Cooper at Simon & Schuster preempted North American rights to a debut novel by Morgan Matson called Amy & Roger Discover America; Rosemary Stimola made the two-book sale. In the book, a trail of letters, e-mails and notes written on napkins and other scraps of paper mark unexpected detours for a grieving teen and her adopted cousin on a cross-country road trip. Matson is an assistant editor at Scholastic; pub date for the first book is summer 2010.

Robin Benjamin at Marshall Cavendish won an auction to Australian author Gabrielle Williams's novel Beatle Meets Destiny via Eva Talmadge at Emma Sweeney. Williams's first novel, Liar, Liar, was published by Kensington.