Last week was a busy one at Foundry Literary + Media, which closed three sales by three agents in as many days. First, Peter McGuigan accepted a preempt from Bantam's Danielle Perez for Economist writer Robert Lane Greene's Talk This Way: The Politics of Language. Drawing from such sources as the Tower of Babel, the Balkan Wars and the Ebonics controversy, the book will explain how the claims people make about “their” specific language are really about identity politics. Bantam bought North American.
At Algonquin, Chuck Adams won an auction for Jamal Joseph's Panther Baby; Stephanie Abou made the North American rights sale. Academy Award—nominee Joseph (for best original song: “Raise It Up” from the film August Rush), the youngest Black Panther to be sent to jail in the “Panther 21” case, will describe how he went on to co-found a creative arts program in Harlem aimed at bringing young people off the streets. Joseph is the first African-American to head the graduate film program at Columbia.
Roger Freet at HarperOne won an auction for Baylor professor Jim Roberts's Shiny Objects: How We Lost Our Way on the Road to the American Dream; Mollie Glick sold North American rights. Roberts will present new research on materialism and happiness to tell the story of how American spending habits have changed over the past 50 years and explain what the current economic crisis can tell us about the future of the American Dream.
Abrams Books for Young Readers publisher Howard Reeves has acquired world rights to Mitzi's World, a collaboration between 7th Heaven actress Deborah Raffin and folk artist Jane Wooster Scott. This seek-and-find book will star the black-and-white dog with a red collar featured in every painting by Scott, cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most reproduced artist in America.” In each spread, readers can seek and discover more than 150 details in 15 works of art. Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown sold the project, which could become a series. Pub date is fall 2009.
Weinstein Books editor Richard Florest bought North American rights to a debut novel by Steven Polansky called The Bradbury Report; Doug Stewart at Sterling Lord made the sale. Set 50 years in the future, when the U.S. has implemented a wide-scale cloning program, the novel describes what happens when a clone escapes from its government-designated habitat. Weinstein will publish in spring 2010, and Canongate will publish in the U.K.
On the Road
Sean McDonald at Riverhead has acquired Davy Rothbart's untitled collection of connected essays in a North American rights deal with Jud Laghi at LJK Literary Management. Rothbart, the creator of Found magazine and a frequent contributor to This American Life, will draw upon his experiences on the road, living out of a van while logging more than half a million miles through all 50 states, and describe the people he encountered along the way.
Becky Cole has made her first acquisition since joining Plume last month; it's called How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It and the author is James Rawles, the founder of SurvivalBlog.com, which has gotten 235 million hits since 2005. The book will be a comprehensive guide to crisis preparedness that will teach readers total self-reliance should disaster strike. Plume has world rights and will publish this fall; the deal was unagented.