Jeffrey Eugenides delves into undergrad love '80s-style; Craig Thompson delves into young love graphic novel style; Stewart O'Nan hits Niagara Falls; Naomi Klein talks climate control; Alan Lightman channels God; and Susan Orlean channels Rin Tin Tin. These are just some of the subjects American agents will be talking up in the rights center at the 2011 London Book Fair.
Attorney and debut novelist Corban Addison has A Walk Across the Sun (Quercus, 2012), about two sisters in India who are thrust into a world of modern slavery after their family is killed by a tsunami, and whose paths cross with an American lawyer living in Bombay. Baror is also shopping Dan Burstein, Arne de Keijzer, and John-Henri Holmberg's The Tattooed Girl (Griffin, May), a look at Swedish crime-writing sensation Stieg Larsson and his bestselling Millennium trilogy. Another debut is former ballet dancer Sophie Flack's YA novel, Bunheads (Poppy, Oct.), about an ambitious teen training at the Manhattan Ballet Company. From Joe R. Lansdale is The Edge of Dark Water (Mulholland, 2012), about a teen who finds her friend's body in a river and heads to L.A. to scatter her ashes; the agency said the title is "Night of the Hunter meets Huck Finn." Then there is Christopher Hitchens's Malady and Mortality (Twelve, spring 2012), about the author's battle with cancer and grappling with mortality (expanded from his columns for Vanity Fair).
Curtis Brown/Gelfmann Schneider
A highlight of the CB and GS lists is Chris Bohjalian's The Night Strangers (Crown, Oct.), an eerie ghost story from the bestselling author of The Double Bind. From Einstein's Dreams author and Harvard and MIT professor Alan Lightman is the novel Mr. G (Pantheon, 2012), "a stunningly imaginative work" that presents the story of creation from the point of view of God. Then there's Jennifer Cody Epstein's The Gods of Heavenly Punishment, about a Japanese pianist who survives the 1945 firebombings of Tokyo. From The Bastard of Istanbul author Elif Shafak is Honor (Penguin UK, 2011), about a Kurdish-Turkish family living in London during the 1970s.
DeFiore and Company
Dr. Brandy Dunn and David Rensin have The Men on My Couch: True Stories of Love, Sex, and Psychotherapy (Berkley, 2013), a memoir the agency calls "the coming-of-age of a young therapist." From recent college grads Sophia Fraioli and Lauren Kaelin is When Parents Text, a collection of amusing examples of an elder generation trying to communicate 21st-century style, based on the authors' popular blog. Jen Lancaster examines an Amish teen zombie romance author and her husband's home renovation travails in the Chicago suburbs in If You Were Here (NAL, May). And "innovation expert" Jeff DeGraff tells readers how they can achieve their goals in Innovation You (Ballantine, Aug.).
Dystel & Goderich
Some of D&G's big titles include John Locke's Donovan Creed series, about a man who works as both an assassin and government agent. The first six titles were self-published as e-books and have sold more than 500,000 copies in 2011. From Washington Post journalist Pamela Constable is Playing with Fire (Random House, Aug.), which the agency calls "a sweeping account of modern Pakistan." Glen Retief, who grew up in apartheid South Africa during the '70s, has the memoir The Jack Bank (St. Martin's, Apr.). From debut novelist Bethany Griffin is the YA Masque of the Red Death (Greenwillow, summer 2012), a postapocalyptic tale about a girl who controls her own fate as well as that of the two boys fighting over her.
Among the agency's major offerings is Eoin Colfer's new children's series W.A.R.P. (Puffin UK). The acronym stands for Witness Anonymous Relocation Program, and according to the agency the story feels like "Oliver Twist meets The Matrix." Another major YA series from EV is Will West: The Epic by debut author Mark Frost. Frost co-wrote David Lynch's '90s cult TV hit, Twin Peaks, and the agency said the first book in the series, The Paladin Protocol (Random House, 2012), "combines a sophisticated mystery with furiously paced action and a twist of the paranormal." A third YA project the agency is shopping is Department 19 (Razorbill), Will Hill's first book in a new trilogy about a boy who joins a secret government agency to save his mother after she is kidnapped by creatures. On the adult side is Amortality, in which the London bureau chief for Time magazine, Catherine Mayer, looks at the growing interest in living agelessly. Then there is Edna O'Brien's autobiography, Country Girl (Little, Brown, 2012), in which the Irish author combines her life story with a tale the agency said "is at the heart of 20th-century literary history."
Foundry Literary + Media
One of Foundry's big fiction titles is Carol Rifka Brunt's debut, Tell the Wolves I'm Home (Dial Press), about an awkward 13-year-old whose life is thrown into a tailspin after her uncle, a famous painter, dies. From Hilary Reyl is Lessons in French (S&S), a novel about a Yale grad who gets a gig assisting famous American photographer Lydia Schell in Paris. On the nonfiction front is The New IQ: Working Memory in the Information Age (Free Press), in which husband-and-wife Tracy and Ross Alloway deliver groundbreaking new insights on working memory. From celebrated comics writer Grant Morrison is Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero (Random/Spiegel & Grau), in which the onetime author of both Batman and Superman looks at what superhero comics are trying to tell us. Then there is popular podcaster Renee Stephens's Full*Filled: The 6-Week Weight Loss Plan for Changing Your Relationship with Food—and Your Life—from Inside Out (Free Press, Dec.), which provides a step-by-step guide to applying a philosophical practice to weight loss.
Gernert will be pushing Chris Pavone's The Expats (Crown, May 2012), a thriller about an ex-CIA agent who gets embroiled in a dangerous plot after his family moves to Luxembourg; rights sold in various countries including Italy, Russia, Spain, and the U.K. From Stewart O'Nan is The Odds (Viking, Feb. 2012), about a couple who go to Niagara Falls in hopes of salvaging their marriage. Hillary Jordan (Mudbound) has When She Woke (Algonquin, Oct.), a dystopian novel inspired by The Scarlet Letter, about a woman charged with murder who goes on the lam. From Monica Drake there's the novel The Stud Book (Crown, summer 2012), a darkly comedic examination of fertility and parenthood. The big nonfiction title the agency is pushing is Tim Crothers's The Queen of Katwe, about a young female chess prodigy from Uganda who made it to the 2010 Chess Olympiad.
ICM (handled by Curtis Brown)
ICM has the new one from literary bestseller Charles Frazier, Nightwoods (Random House, Oct.), which is set in a North Carolina town during the 1950s and follows a woman saddled with troubled twins after the murder of her sister. The other big fiction title ICM is selling is E.J. Miller's debut, After Augustus (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar. 2012), about a Washington, D.C., man trying to hold his crumbling family together. In nonfiction is columnist Thomas L. Friedman and foreign policy analyst Michael Mandelbaum's That Used to Be Us (FSG, Sept.), an examination of the four critical challenges America faces: globalization, the swift spread of information technology, debt, and high energy consumption. From No Logo author Naomi Klein is The Message (Picador), about climate change. And from Karl Marlantes (Matterhorn) is What It's Like to Go to War (Grove Atlantic, Oct.), a rumination on the costs—moral and social—of sending young people to fight for their country.
In Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend (S&S, Oct.), New Yorker staff writer and bestseller Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief) delivers a piece of narrative nonfiction about the titular German shepherd, born during WWI in France, who became a Hollywood star in America. From Galileo's Daughter author Dava Sobel is A More Perfect Heaven (Walker Books, Oct.), which examines the life and work of Nicolaus Copernicus, who was initially ridiculed for his 1514 theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Journalist Matthew Hart's Watching the Spider (Free Press, spring 2013) examines the ever-growing place gold has in the world financial markets. On the fiction side is Timeri Murai's The Taliban Cricket Club (Ecco, summer 2012), about an Afghan journalist trying to survive in Kabul under Taliban rule while taking care of her mother. And from Lee Woodruff there's The Heredity of Deceit (Hyperion), about a tragedy that rocks a family; the title is the fiction debut from the wife of Bob Woodruff.
Janklow & Nesbit
Among the heavies Janklow & Nesbit will be trotting out in London are Jeffrey Eugenides and Jane Fonda. From Pulitzer Prize–winner Eugenides is the hotly awaited novel The Marriage Plot (FSG, Sept.), involving a college love triangle during the 1980s; rights sold in Canada, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. Jane Fonda talks about aging more than gracefully in her new guide, Prime Time: Creating a Great Third Act (Random House, Sept.). The agency also has the new graphic novel from Blankets author Craig Thompson, Habibi (Pantheon, Sept.), a fantastical story of young love; rights sold in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the U.K. Then there's Joanna Smith Rakoff's coming-of-age memoir, My Salinger Year (Knopf), in which the author chronicles her experiences, during the '90s, at an entry-level job at a literary agency; J&N likens it to The Devil Wears Prada. And from Ramona Ausubel is No One Is Here Except All of Us (Riverhead, Jan. 2012), a debut novel set during WWII about a Romanian girl who escapes the Nazi invasion of her remote village and travels across Europe to survive.
From bestseller Tess Gerritsen is the ninth entry in her Rizzoli and Isles mystery series, The Silent Girl (Ballantine, July). Joseph Monninger has The World As We Know It (Gallery, Oct.), about a couple separated after a tragedy on their wedding night. The agency also has Tami Hoag's latest addition to her series set in a college town in California, Down the Darkest Road (Dutton, Dec.). From romance author Julie Garwood is The Ideal Man (Dutton, Aug.), about a surgeon and the FBI agent assigned to protect her. The agency has three new books from Iris Johansen featuring her popular protagonist Eve Duncan—Eve, Quinn, and Bonnie (all at St. Martin's Press)—that will finally answer the mystery of who killed Eve's daughter, Bonnie.
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
In Finding the Sun (Da Capo, summer 2012) journalist Mark Anderson explores the dangerous journey three men took in June 1769 tracking an event that occurs every 120 years: the brief passing of Venus across the Sun. In I, Isabella of Castille (Ballantine, summer 2012) C.W. Gortner explores the life of the Spanish monarch who sent Columbus to America. From Natasha Burton, Julie Fishman, and Meagan McCrary is the dating guide The Little Black Book of Red Flags: 351 Signs He's Not the One, based on the trio's popular blog. Timothy Schaffert has Coffins of Little Hope (Unbridled, Apr.), about an elderly obituary writer who finds herself at the center of a kidnapping mystery. And from Mary McGarry Morris is Light from a Distant Star (Crown, Sept.), a novel about a 12-year-old whose sheltered life is rocked by an act of violence.
Sandra Dijkstra Agency
In the debut psychological thriller by Robert Pobi, The Blood Man, an FBI agent returns to his childhood home after his father nearly commits suicide by setting himself on fire. From bestseller Lisa See is Dreams of Joy (Random House, June), which continues the story of the mother-daughter pair from Shanghai Girls, Pearl and Joy. Amy Tan has The Valley of Amazement (Ecco), about a painting passed through three generations of women in one family. And from Cosmo editor-in-chief Kate White is the thriller The Sixes (HarperCollins, Aug.) about an undergrad at a Pennsylvania college who discovers a dangerous secret society.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
From Mike Cooper is Clawback (Viking, Apr. 2012), a thriller about a corporate fixer investigating a string of Wall Street murders. Jay Kristoff has the dystopian steampunk fantasy adventure series Stormdancer, set in a feudal society teetering on environmental disaster; book one is scheduled from St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne in spring/summer 2012. Guns N' Roses bassist and cofounder Duff McKagan has his memoir, It's So Easy (And Other Lies) (S&S, Oct.), which he is co-writing with Tim Mohr. From Holly Tucker is Blood Work (Norton, Mar.), which looks at controversial medical practices developed during the scientific revolution (in the 17th century) that are standard today.
Sterling Lord Literistic
Some of the biggest titles SLL will be touting in the rights tent are novels. There's the fourth novel from Jami Attenberg, The Middlesteins (Grand Central, spring 2012), about a Midwestern clan coming undone. From Dennis Cooper, winner of the French literary prize the Prix-Sade, is The Marbled Swarm (HarperCollins, July), a story narrated by a contemporary cannibal on the hunt for food. The agency also has Ron Hansen's A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion (Scribner, June), based on an actual case, about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who coaxes her salesman-lover to kill her husband. Self-deprecating New York City textbook editor Grace Barnum is featured in Shelle Sumner's Nora Ephron-esque Grace Grows (St. Martin's, fall 2012), in which the heroine's on-again, off-again dog-walker boyfriend relocates to L.A., where he becomes an overnight country star. And in a crime novel from Jay Kang that the agency dubs "hipster noir," The Dead Do Not Improve (Crown, fall 2012), a young Korean-American startup founder is pulled into a violent scheme after his neighbor is murdered.
Trident Media Group
Trident's big offerings in London include Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Google director of ideas Jared Cohen's book on the politicization of the Internet, Empire of the Mind:The Dawn of the Techno-Political Age (Knopf); the agency reports over $700,000 in deals for the title with sales in Korea, the UK, and Germany. Then there's the new Russell Banks novel, Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco, Oct.), about a character simply called "The Kid" who is trapped in "a strangely modern-day version of limbo." From Sherrilyn Kenyon is Inevitable (St. Martin's Press), the third book in the author's bestselling Chronicle of Nick series. Tom Epperson has his sophomore novel Sailor (Tor/Forge, Feb. 2012), about a mother-son duo on the run from a hit man who land in a Southern California town where they befriend a mysterious stranger. The agency also will be pushing Matt Bondurant's novel The Night Swimmer (Scribner, Jan. 2012) about a pair of Vermont birdwatchers who, through a contest, win a pub situated in a small coastal Irish town. And from Barry Lancet is Japantown, a novel from a senior executive editor at Kodansha International in Tokyo.
William Morris Endeavor
Among the big titles WME will be pushing in London are novels by Matthew Pearl (The Dante Club) and Lauren Groff (The Monsters of Templeton). Pearl's The Technologists (Random House) is a thriller set in the 19th century that follows a group of MIT students. Groff's Arcadia (Hyperion, Feb. 2012) is set in western New York during the late '60s and concerns an idealistic group living on a commune. From Pam Lewis is a turn-of-the-20th-century tale of love and betrayal, The Young Wife (S&S), which the agency likens to Robert Goolrick's A Reliable Wife. On the nonfiction side is David Finch's memoir, The Journal of Best Practices (Scribner), which grew out of a New York Times "Modern Love" column, in which the author chronicles his marital strife tied to a late-in-life diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. And from Emily Oster is Pregnancy by the Numbers (Penguin Press), a prenatal guide from a University of Chicago professor that the agency calls "Freakonomics meets What to Expect When You're Expecting."
WH has Michael Lewis's Boomerang (Norton, Sept.), a follow-up to his bestseller about the financial crisis, The Big Short. Also in nonfiction is A$$hole author Marty Kihn's tale of canine love, Bad Dog (Pantheon, Apr.). In fiction is international bestseller Ken Follett's Fall of Giants (Dutton, Sept. 2010) as well as the forthcoming Winter of the World, which is scheduled for September 2012. And from bestseller Ridley Pearson is a debut crime series featuring an international security firm; the first book in the series is The Foreign Exchange (Putnam, fall).
The Wylie Agency
New Yorker staff writer George Packer looks at diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who came up through the political ranks during the Vietnam War and worked with every Democratic president from JFK through Obama, in Richard Holbrooke and the American Eclipse. In a tribute to her late husband, Olivia Harrison and Mark Holborn deliver George Harrison: Living in the Material World, which will feature everything from photos to objects from the musician's life. (The book will be timed to a 2011 Martin Scorsese documentary about Harrison.) From French-born author Anouk Markovits is her sophomore novel, I Am Forbidden (Crown, summer 2012), which follows three generations of a Satmar family. (The Satmar are one of the most orthodox Hasidic communities.) From Nigerian-born author Teju Cole is Open City (Random House, Feb. 2011), a New York post-9/11 novel narrated by an African émigré working in the city as a psychiatrist. Wylie also has Martin Amis's new one, Lionel Asbo: State of England (Knopf), about a social misfit who wins the national lottery before being released from prison.