Ecco Nabs Former Nanny’s Debut
In a North American rights acquisition at auction, Ecco’s Megan Lynch bought Madeline Stevens’s debut novel, Small Night. The author, a graduate of Columbia’s MFA program and a former nanny, was represented by Stephanie Delman at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Ecco said the novel, pitched as “Sweetbitter meets The Perfect Nanny,” follows a 26-year-old woman named Ella Crawford who takes a nanny job for a wealthy couple on New York City’s Upper East Side and winds up developing an unhealthy bond with the wife. Calling the book “psychologically propulsive,” Ecco said it follows Ella as her “initial resentment of the young mother morphs into a dangerous obsession.”
Hot U.K. Thriller to Morrow
For mid–six figures, Jennifer Brehl at William Morrow took North American rights to Taylor Adam’s No Exit. The thriller, which has become a runaway bestseller in the U.K. after being published there by Joffe Books in June 2017, was recently optioned by 20th Century Fox. (According to Morrow, the novel, which is set for an early 2019 release in the States, has sold more than 100,000 copies in Great Britain to date.) In No Exit, a college student named Darby Thorne becomes stranded at a highway rest stop during a blizzard. Forced to stick out the storm with four strangers, Thorne makes a jarring discovery in the middle of the night: she finds a little girl stowed away in the trunk of one of her fellow travelers’ cars. “Without cell phone reception and trapped by the snow,” Morrow said, Thorne “must figure out who is the kidnapper, and in the process save the little girl and herself.” No Exit has sold, to date, in 19 languages with, Morrow added, “more deals expected to close” before this month’s London Book Fair. Lorella Belli, at Lorella Belli Literary Agency Ltd., represented Adam.
Emily Bestler Buys Macneal’s ‘Factory’
After a major auction in the U.K. with 14 bidders, North American rights to Elizabeth Macneal’s The Doll Factory went to Emily Bestler, for her eponymous imprint at Atria. Madeleine Milburn at Madeleine Milburn Ltd. sold the work, describing it as “a magnetic novel of curiosity, love, and macabre possession.” In it, a beautiful apprentice doll maker named Iris who dreams of becoming a painter meets Silas who, Milburn explained, is “a lonely collector of morbid curiosities who dreams of building his own museum dedicated to his macabre obsessions.” The novel is set in 1850s London and, in addition to the U.S. and U.K. sales, Milburn has recently closed a flurry of foreign deals, including to publishers in France, Germany, Greece, and Italy.
Knopf Gets New MG from Hiaasen
Selling his first middle grade novel in five years, Carl Hiaasen closed a North American rights agreement for Squirm with Nancy Siscoe at Knopf Books for Young Readers. The novel, which was sold by Esther Newberg at ICM, is about a boy searching for his absentee father. Knopf said the delinquent dad has a “secret life that involves grizzly bears, spy drones, dangerous poachers, and a dead parrot named Hubert.” The book, slated for fall 2018, is, Knopf went on, “a twisted yet tender family story that could only have come from the mind of Carl Hiaasen.”
Martell’s Kingdom Conquered by Saga
The first book in an epic fantasy series by 23-year-old Nick Martell, The Kingdom of Liars, was acquired by Joe Monti at auction in a three-book deal. Monti took North American rights to the novel and two sequels from Joshua Bilmes at Jabberwocky Literary. Martell said the series is set in “a city where magic costs memories” and concerns “a disgraced noble’s son who must risk his own memories and deceive all around him to determine whether his father truly murdered the child prince.” Separate deals for the series have also closed in Germany and the U.K.
Spark Makes Some Noise for Sunstein and Co.
For Little, Brown’s new imprint Spark, Tracy Behar took North American rights to Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein. The book, set for 2020, argues that errors in judgment are attributable to a phenomenon the authors call “noise.” It is this noise that makes humans, as the publisher put it, susceptible to “chance variability in their judgments.” The authors are established academics and bestsellers: Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Acting Slow) is a professor at Princeton and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economic sciences; Sibony teaches at HEC Paris; and Sunstein (Nudge) is a Harvard professor who previously held positions in the White House and Defense Department.