Glusman Nabs ‘Diary’ After It Picks Up Buzz in Frankfurt
Norton editor-in-chief John Glusman bought U.S. rights to Helga’s Diary, one of the talked-about books at last month’s Frankfurt Book Fair. The work, which collects the personal writings and drawings of a young Czech girl who survived Ausch-witz, was hidden by the author’s uncle and reclaimed by the author after the war; now, for the first time, the diary will be translated into English (and other languages). Glusman closed the deal with Sarah Hunt Cooke at Penguin UK, and rights have been sold in a number of other countries, including Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Poland. Helga Weiss was an 11-year-old living in Prague in 1939 when she started the diary; she, along with other members of her family, was shipped off to the Terezin ghetto in 1941, and then sent to Auschwitz in 1944. Neil Bermel, a professor at Sheffield University, is translating the book into English, and Norton is planning a September 2012 publication.
Hyperion Gets Mr. Kupchynsky’s Opus
Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor sold North American rights to professional violinist Melanie Kupchynsky and Joanne Lipman’s Strings Attached. Kerri Kolen at Hyperion pre-empted the book, which is built out of an op-ed Lipman (one of the founding editors of Condé Nast’s Portfolio) wrote for the Times in February 2010 called “And the Orchestra Played On.” The piece is about Lipman discovering her beloved, and hard-driving, high school music teacher, Jerry Kupchynsky, had died, and then participating, along with hundreds of Kupchynsky’s other students and his daughter, in a farewell concert. The book, Hyperion said, will be about “the world’s toughest orchestra teacher... and his memorial service, where three generations of students flew in from all over the country to play a concert in his memory, having finally understood his harsh lessons.” The book will be told from the perspectives of both Melanie Kupchynsky, who now plays violin for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Lipman, who was taught by Mr. K., as he was affectionately known by his students, in East Brunswick, N.J. Strings, which Hyperion has scheduled for spring 2013, came together after Lipman and Kupchynsky reconnected at the memorial concert, and after Lipman’s op-ed quickly rose to the top of the Times’s most e-mailed list.
Wachtel Re-Ups Upson
Claire Wachtel at HarperCollins bought North American rights to the fourth literary crime novel in Nicola Upson’s Josephine Tey series, Fear in the Sunlight. Grainne Fox at Fletcher & Company brokered the deal for Veronique Baxter, an agent at the U.K.-based David Higham Associates. The series features the Scottish author Tey, a pseudonym used by Elizabeth Mackintosh, who wrote mystery novels from the 1920s through the 1950s. Fear in the Sunlight is set in 1936 in the Welsh town of Portmeiron and has Alfred Hitchcock as a character; in the novel, when a murder happens in the small town, Tey and her detective friend are drawn into the investigation.
RH Children’s Buys New Gratton Series
Tessa Gratton has signed a three-book, six-figure deal with Suzy Capozzi at Random House Children’s Books for a new YA trilogy. Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency handled the world rights deal for Gratton; the series is called the Songs of New Asgard. The series presents an alternate history of the U.S. in which the country was founded on elements of Norse religions, and gods walk among humans, with some maintaining powerful positions in the government. Rennert said Gratton’s inspiration was, in large part, her own translation of Beowulf. The first book, Weight of Stars, follows two teenagers who embark on a cross-country search for a missing god. As the kids travel through the United States of Asgard they encounter, as Rennert put it, “smalltown zealots,trickster gods, and sadistic field trolls.” Gratton’s YA debut, Blood Magic, was published by RH Children’s in May 2011, and the companion book to that title, The Blood Keeper, is coming out in August 2012.