Roaring Brook Gets Nerdy with Kastner
Emmy Kastner sold world rights to her four-book series, Nerdy Babies, after a five-house auction, to Katherine Jacobs at Roaring Brook Press. Kastner, an author-illustrator, is the cofounder of RAWK (Read and Write Kalamazoo), a youth-literacy nonprofit. The series, which Molly O’Neill at Root Literary sold, marks Kastner’s debut, and O’Neill said it aims to “inspire the youngest minds to appreciate science and creativity.” The first two titles, Nerdy Babies Explore Space and Nerdy Babies Explore the Ocean, are set for fall 2019.
Alterman Takes ‘Guide’ to Grand Central
In a North American rights agreement, Grand Central’s Suzanne O’Neill nabbed Sara Faith Alterman’s The Beginner’s Guide to Sex and Death. The essay collection, explained Alterman’s agent Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bouret, is based in part on an April 2015 article Alterman wrote for the New York Times (which ran online in the “Opinionator” section). “Dad’s Last Ice Cream” chronicles the discovery by the author, at age 12, of a pornographic book her father had written and stashed away, titled Games You Can Play with Your Pussy. Alterman is a producer of the popular Mortified podcast (which features people sharing embarrassing and true first-person stories); she recently tackled the subject of the Times story in an episode of the series. The book, Glick said, “is a cringe-worthy and charming collection of essays that soar through a narrative of sexual awakening and sexual awkwardness.” Beginner’s Guide is set for spring 2019.
PEN Winner Scott Inks Sophomore Deal
The winner of the 2017 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, Rion Amilcar Scott, closed a North American rights deal, at auction, for his second book of short stories and his debut novel. Katie Henderson Adams at Liveright bought the books from Monika Woods at Curtis Brown. The publisher said the new collection, The World Doesn’t Require You, will explore themes ranging from “religion to music to race to academia.” Both the collection and the novel will build on the fictional world of Cross River, Md., which the author created in his debut, Insurrections (Univ. Press of Kentucky). The collection is set for summer 2019, and the novel does not yet have a publication date.
NFL Champ Sells Second Work to Post Hill
Retired football player and Super Bowl champion Burgess Owens sold a second book to Anthony Ziccardi at Post Hill Press. Ziccardi (who acquired Owens’s 2016 bestseller, Liberalism, or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps) took world rights to Why I Stand, which, the publisher said, will explore “a 100-year indoctrination of socialism within the black community and the theft of its history.” Owens did not use an agent in the deal.
Da Capo Gets ‘Religion’
Southern California punk rock band Bad Religion sold a work about the group’s 40-year career to Ben Schafer at Da Capo. We’re Not Bad Religion, written with Jim Ruland, is, the publisher said, a “hybrid oral history” of the band. The book, which is set for fall 2019 and was sold by Marc Gerald at United Talent Agency, will chart the group’s history, from its “humble beginning” as a collection of “pissed-off teenagers in a sweltering garage in the San Fernando Valley to headlining the world’s biggest concert venues.” The book will also explore, the publisher added, the band’s “unrelenting critical stance on religion and social issues with politically charged lyrics embodied by vocalist Greg Graffin’s other career as a lecturer at UCLA and Cornell University.”
Liz Pearson at Thomas & Mercer took world English rights to Gregg Olsen’s The Serial Killer’s Daughters. The true crime book, set for October 2019, was sold by Susan Raihofer at the David Black Agency. The Amazon imprint said the title examines the lives of the Knotek sisters, whose mother, Michelle Knotek, was convicted in 2004 of killing three people who had been boarding in her house in Washington state.
His Hideous Heart, a collection of Edgar Allan Poe short stories reimagined by various authors, was acquired by Sarah Barley at Flatiron Books. The collection, which is being edited by Dahlia Adler, was sold in a world rights deal by Victoria Marini at the Irene Goodman Agency. The fall 2019–slated collection will feature new stories by, among others, Kendare Blake, Rin Chupeco, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Tiffany Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn, and Amanda Lovelace. (The book will also feature the Poe stories being riffed upon.)
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the title of Sara Faith Alterman's book; it's The Beginner's Guide to Sex and Death, not The Beginner's Guide to Life and Death. Also, Emmy Kastner's first name was previously misspelled. And she struck a four-book deal, not a two-book one.