Gallery Buys Tale of ‘Female Schindler’
After a three-day auction, Gallery Books executive editor Karen Kosztolnyik won North American rights to Tilar Mazzeo’s nonfiction proposal, Irena’s Children, about a woman who has been dubbed the “female Oskar Schindler.” The proposal unwinds the life story of Irena Sendler, who, along with a cadre of fellow Polish citizens, went to extremes during World War II to save over 2,000 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. (Sendler kept the names of all the rescued kids in a jar, so that they might one day be reunited with their families.) The book, Gallery noted, also weaves together two “intertwined wartime love stories.” The proposal has been acquired in Italy and Norway, and, at press time, auctions were underway in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Mazzeo (The Widow Clicquot) was represented by agent Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich.

Crown ‘Conjures’ for Anderson
In a six-figure acquisition, Crown’s Phoebe Yeh preempted U.S., Canadian, Philippine, and open-market rights to three titles in Brian Anderson’s middle-grade series, The Conjurers. The story has been running as a weekly Web comic on, but has never appeared in print; Crown is planning to debut the first installment in fall 2015. The books, which will feature Anderson’s illustrations, follow a boy named Alex—who invents mechanical toys—and his older sister. Agent Rosemary Stimola, at Stimola Literary Studio, represented Anderson; she said the plot sees Alex and his sister enter a secret realm of magicians where they must “battle a shadow conjurer bent on enslaving both the Flat human world and the magician world.”

Taylor Returns to Norton
William Clark, at William Clark Associates, sold North American rights to Yuval Taylor’s Zora and Langston to Norton’s Amy Cherry. The nonfiction work explores the friendship between Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes; Clark said it tracks their bond from their first meeting in New York City, through a road trip across the South, leading up to a bitter falling out. Taylor is a senior editor at Chicago Review Press and Cherry published his previous two books.

At Europa Editions, press founder Sandro Ferri bought U.S. rights to Anna Gavalda’s recent French bestseller, Billie, from Claude Tarréne, foreign rights director at Le Dilettante Press. The novel, Europa said, is both a “brilliant evocation” of Paris, and a “moving tale about two friends.” Billie was published in France in September by Le Dilettante; Gavalda’s last two books published in the States were released by Riverhead.

For Da Capo Press, Ben Schafer bought U.S. rights to Paul Brannigan’s Eruption from Matthew Elblonk at DeFiore and Company. The book, set for fall 2015, chronicles the transition in pop music from the dominance of the singer-songwriter in the 1970s to that of the hair metal bands in the 1980s; this shift is traced through the biography of rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen.