O. Henry Winner Takes Latest to Bloomsbury
Lea Beresford at Bloomsbury bought world English rights to Adrienne Celt’s currently untitled new work, a novel inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s unusual marriage. (The author’s wife, Véra, put her own literary career aside to control her husband’s, acting as everything from agent to editor and lawyer, the publisher said. Despite his reliance on her, he had a series of affairs with other women.) The novel, Bloomsbury went on, is set in the 1920s and ’30s and follows a young Soviet refugee who “barely survives the alien landscape of an all-girls New Jersey prep school only to become ensnared in a dangerous love triangle.” Celt, who won an O. Henry Award for her short story "Temples" (which first appeared in Eopch); her 2015 novel The Daughters was published by Liveright. Celt was represented by Emma Patterson at Brandt & Hochman.
Brit’s American Debut Preempted by Berkley
Executive editor at Berkley Amanda Bergeron acquired U.S. rights to British journalist Katy Regan’s Little Big Love in a preempt. The two-book deal was brokered by Grainne Fox at Fletcher & Company on behalf of Lizzy Kremer at David Higham Associates. The novel has also been acquired in the U.K. (by Pan Macmillan, which will release it under the title Little Big Man), Germany, and Italy. It follows a 10-year-old boy who, Berkley said, is obsessed with facts and “launches a mission to uncover the one thing no one will tell him: where his father went.” The imprint described the work as “a layered, heartfelt, and utterly satisfying story about family, love, and the moments that define who we become.” Berkley will be releasing the book, which will be Regan’s U.S. debut, in summer 2018; Pan Macmillan will be publishing it in the fall.
Balzer + Bray Inks Double with Podos
Rebecca Podos sold North American rights to her YA novel The Psychic Sisters of Saltville to Jordan Brown at Balzer + Bray. The two-book deal was negotiated by Lana Popovic at Chalberg & Sussman. Podos said Psychic Sisters is a work of magical realism about a girl from a family whose women all have “premonitions of their own deaths” as teenagers. When the heroine’s great-aunt dies, Podos continued, she “is set on a path from the woods of Maine to the forests of Russia to uncover the family’s macabre legacy, and begins to wonder whether they’re the heroes or the villains of their story.” Psychic Sisters is slated for winter 2019; the second book in the deal is set for winter 2020.
Knopf Kids Picks Up Mather’s Next YA
In a two-book, six-figure deal, Adriana Mather sold a new YA series to Melanie Nolan at Knopf Books for Young Readers. Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio, who brokered the North American rights agreement, said the currently untitled series follows a girl named November who winds up at a boarding school that “boasts an eye-for-an-eye punishment system.” At the school, “rumors about ancient family alliances and the historical figures that connect them make it clear November knows less about herself than everyone else—a fact that’s especially distressing when a student is found murdered and November is the main suspect.” Mather is an actress and author of How to Hang a Witch (Knopf, 2016); the first book in this series is set for spring 2019.
Summerill Brings Another YA Fantasy to HMH
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Sarah Landis bought North American rights to Erin Summerill’s YA fantasy, Once a King. Summerill was represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary; he said the novel is set in the world of the author’s Clash of Kingdoms series (also published by HMH), which follows the travails of teenager Britta Flannery, an expert with a bow and arrow who comes from a line of famous bounty hunters. Once a King is about 17-year-old Lirra, who, Adams explained, is “forced on the run with King Aodren after the murder of a high official; together, they must find the true murderer to avert a war among the four kingdoms.” The novel is slated for a fall 2018 release.
Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh, a lyricist and regular contributor to National Geographic KIDS, sold world rights to two picture books to Joni Sussman at Kar-Ben Publishing. The first book, Can You Hear a Coo, Coo?, is set for spring 2018. Kiffel-Alcheh did not use an agent in the deal.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Adrienne Celt won an O. Henry award for her book The Daughters; she won the award for her short story, "Temples." Additionally, The Daughters is a novel, not a short story collection.