Harvard’s Riess Sells Book on Empathy
In a six-figure deal, Harvard Medical School professor and M.D. Helen Riess sold Relation-Shifts: How Cultivating Empathy Can Help You Live Your Best Life to spiritual publisher Sounds True. Caroline Pincus acquired world English rights to the book, at auction, from Linda Konner, who has an eponymous agency. Riess, in addition to teaching at Harvard, runs an empathy program at Massachusetts General Hospital and is writing the book with Liz Neporent. The book is slated for fall 2018.

Hajdu Sings Song for Norton
John Glusman at Norton took North American rights to David Hajdu’s debut novel The Song Was He: The Story of an Unsung Star. The main character, the publisher said, is a “would-be rock star named Addy Babcock.” Agent Chris Calhoun represented Hajdu (Positively 4th Street), who has written a number of lauded works of nonfiction, is the music critic for the Nation, and a three-time finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Song Was He is slated for fall 2019.

Berkley Brings Meissner into Hardcover
In another six-figure deal, Claire Zion at Berkley bought world rights to what will be Susan Meissner’s hardcover debut, Under the Canopy of Heaven. Meissner, who was represented by Elisabeth Weed at the Book Group, has published three trade paperback originals with Berkley, and a fourth is coming out in March 2017. Under the Canopy of Heaven, which is slated for early 2018, is set in 1918 during the flu pandemic that seized the United States. The novel follows a Philadelphia family who run a funeral home and, the publisher said, “whose life is upended by the disease.”

Sweat Takes Debut to Feiwel
Feiwel and Friends’ Liz Szabla took North American rights, in a two-book deal, to Jeff Sweat’s YA debut, Mayfly. The second book in the deal, which Cheryl Pientka at Jill Grinberg Literary Management brokered, is an untitled sequel. Mayfly, currently planned for a 2018 publication, is set in a world where no one lives past the age of 16. In this “chaotic” setting, Pientka explained, where teens “must propagate before their ‘end,’ four friends flee their tribe to discover the secret to reverse the early demises. Sweat, who has worked in marketing for Yahoo, has a PR and marketing agency called Mister Sweat.

Scholastic Gets Brave with Walsh
Jenni L. Walsh closed a two-book North American rights deal with Paige Hazzan at Scholastic to launch a new biography series called Brave Like Me. The middle grade line was developed by Walsh’s agent, Dystel & Goderich’s Stacey Glick, and Hazzan; it will, Glick said, tell the life stories of “brave young women.” The series is launching with two books, in fall 2018. One will profile the surfer Bethany Hamilton (who lost her arm in a shark attack), and the other the activist Malala Yousafzai (who, after being shot by the Taliban, became an advocate for women’s education).

Charbonneau to Launch Duology at HarperTeen
The bestselling author of the Testing trilogy, Joelle Charbonneau, sold world rights to a duology called Dividing Eden to HarperTeen. Kristen Pettit bought the books from Stacia Decker at Dunow Carlson & Lerner. Decker said she pitched Dividing Eden, which follows royal siblings forced into competing for the crown, as “Red Queen meets East of Eden.” The first book is scheduled for summer 2017.