Pulitzer-Winner Kennicott Takes Memoir to Norton

John Glusman, editor-in-chief of W.W. Norton, has acquired world English rights to The Goldberg Variations: A Memoir, the first book by Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott, in a deal negotiated by Markus Hoffmann of Regal Hoffmann & Associates. According to Hoffmann, the book describes how Kennicott found solace in the music of Bach, and particularly the Goldberg Variations, in the wake of his mother’s death. Hoffmann said that the book investigates “the nature of learning and mastery, and how they might help us during times of grieving and loss.” Norton expects to publish the book in winter 2018–2019.

Atria Takes Memoir by Syrian Musician and Refugee

In a second deal completed last week, Markus Hoffmann sold North American rights to The Pianist from Syria by Aeham Ahmad to Atria’s Johanna V. Castillo, who acquired the book in a preempt. According to Hoffmann, the book is a “firsthand account and moving memoir about the plight of refugees in the war-torn Middle East, the musical family legacy that encouraged [Ahmad’s] own dreams and ambitions, and his arduous journey from a Palestinian/Syrian refugee camp to Germany.” Hoffmann negotiated the deal on behalf of Germany’s S. Fischer Verlag. Atria plans to publish the book in 2018.

Gallery 13 Picks Up Graphic Novel About Epilepsy

Gallery senior editor Ed Schlesinger has acquired world rights to Mis(h)adra, a graphic novel by writer, illustrator, and game designer Iasmin Omar Ata, in a deal negotiated by Judy Hansen of Hansen Literary Management. The acquisition is one of the first for Gallery 13, a new Simon & Schuster imprint devoted to graphic novels. According to Gallery, the novel, which began as a webcomic, “explores the narrative of Isaac, an overwhelmed Arab-American college student struggling to manage his daily life while coping with epilepsy.” Based on the author’s own experience with epilepsy, the book uses intense colors and imagery to depict “the reality of living with a little-understood disease.” It’s set to be published in October 2017.

Sanders in Two Deals with Grand Central

Grand Central’s Maddie Caldwell has acquired North American rights to former O Magazine digital producer Barbara Bourland’s Pine City, the author’s second novel. Victoria Sanders of Victoria Sanders & Associates, who brokered the deal, called it an “uncommon acquisition” given that Bourland’s first novel, I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, has not yet been published. (That book is due from Grand Central in spring 2017.) According to Sanders, Pine City is set in an “abandoned summer resort in the Hudson Valley” and centers on a young painter who “finds herself falling ever deeper into the inner circle of an enigmatic group of older artists.” Pine City is set for a spring 2019 release.

Sanders also brokered a deal with Grand Central’s Lindsey Rose for North American rights to seven books by suspense author Sara Blaedel. One book, The Undertaker’s Daughter, the first in the Undertaker series is, according to Sanders, about a “woman who receives an unexpected inheritance—which turns out to be much more than she bargained for—from a father she hasn’t heard from in three decades, forcing her to leave her native Denmark and relocate to Racine, Wisconsin.” The publisher also acquired six backlist titles in Blaedel’s series centering on Louise Rick, a police investigator.

Graydon House Picks Up Rimmer Novel

Susan Swinwood of Graydon House, an imprint of Harlequin, has acquired North American rights to Before I Let You Go, a novel by Kelly Rimmer, as part of a three-book deal negotiated by Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency. The publisher called the book “an issue-driven page-turner about a woman who, despite her disturbing childhood, has carved out a successful career and relationship but whose stable life is threatened by the return of her pregnant, drug-addicted sister.” Graydon House, which focuses on commercial women’s fiction, was launched by Harlequin earlier this year, with Dianne Moggy as v-p, editorial, and Swinwood as executive editor. Before I Let You Go is set for a spring 2018 publication.

Berkley Nabs ‘Vacationers’-Like Debut

In her first acquisition for Berkley, executive editor Amanda Bergeron has acquired North American rights, in a preempt, to Seven Days of Us, a debut novel by journalist Francesca Hornak (History of the World in 100 Modern Objects), along with a second, untitled novel by the author. The six-figure deal was negotiated by Kate Hibbert, rights director at Little, Brown Book Group, Hornak’s U.K. publisher. According to Berkley, Seven Days of Us operates in the vein of The Nest and The Vacationers, centering on a holiday family gathering at a country estate. “Because eldest daughter Olivia, a doctor, has been abroad fighting a life-threatening virus,” the publisher said, “the entire clan must remain quarantined for seven days.” Berkley plans to publish the novel in fall 2017.

CORRECTION: This column previously misnamed Hornak's prior book.