Closing a five-way auction just before the Frankfurt Book Fair, Brian DeFiore sold North American rights to The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore to Cary Goldstein at Twelve. The novel is 26-year-old Benjamin Hale's debut and is presented as the memoir of the first chimp to develop the ability to speak. DeFiore is championing the book as a potential buzz title at the coming fair.

Hale wrote the book at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and took home the Michener-Copernicus award for it this year. The novel is written from the perspective of the titular chimp, now looking back on his life after returning to captivity in the shadow of a murder conviction; DeFiore described the work, which clocks in at 600 pages, as a "sprawling novel." The agent said it touches on such themes as alienation, xenophobia, language and taboo desire; Twelve is planning an early 2011 publication.

Another Iowa Writers' grad, Anna Keesey, just saw her debut novel, Little Century, purchased at auction by Courtney Hodell at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Hodell took North American rights to the book, which is set in turn-of-the-century Oregon and follows a girl trying to stake a land claim in the state's high desert country amid range wars and the expansion of the railroad. FSG described the book as "in the spirit of Willa Cather's My Antonia and Upton Sinclair's There Will Be Blood." Keesey, whose work has been included in the ongoing Best American Short Stories series, was represented by Julie Barer in the deal, and FSG is looking to publish in spring 2011.