Gappah Shines Her “Light” on Scribner
For Scribner, Kathy Belden took North American rights, at auction, to two books—a novel called Out of Darkness, Shining Light and a short story collection called Rotten Row—by Petina Gappah. The author, who was represented by Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor, won the 2009 Guardian First Book Award for her novel An Elegy for Easterly. The novel, Scribner said, is about the last days of a Scottish explorer and missionary named David Livingstone, as well as the journey of his body from Zambia back to England. The publisher added that the book is “narrated by his sharp-tongued cook, Halima, and a repressed African missionary, Jacob Wainwright,” and tells the tale of “this harrowing 1,500-mile journey.” Out of Darkness is set for summer 2019.
Turner’s ‘Girls’ Goes to S&S
In a world rights preempt, Christine Pride at Simon & Schuster bought Dawn Turner’s first nonfiction project, Three Girls from Bronzeville. Turner (Only Twice We’ve Reached for Heaven), a former columnist for the Chicago Tribune, has written extensively about race and class in America. In Three Girls, which Pride compared to The Other Wes Moore, Turner follows the lives of three black girls through the 1970s and ’80s in Chicago: herself, her younger sister, and her childhood best friend. Laying out the trajectory of these three lives, the author, Pride explained, “dissects a universal question about resilience: why do some people ‘make it,’ able to withstand oppressive forces like poverty, racism, violence, etc., and some people don’t?” Steve Ross at Abrams represented Turner.
‘Marlon Bundo’ Co-creator Hops to Razorbill
Jill Twiss, a writer on the HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and coauthor of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (Chronicle), sold a YA romantic comedy called Love Inc. to Razorbill. Ben Schrank took world rights to the book from Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger. The publisher said the novel, which is set for a 2019 release, is about a teen entrepreneur who “creates a personalized subscription box service that guarantees true love... for everyone but herself.”
Berkley Invests in Lim’s Debut
After winning two books at auction for six figures, Cindy Hwang at Berkley will publish Roselle Lim’s debut novel, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune. Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency brokered the deal, which includes a second, currently untitled novel, for U.S., Canadian, and translation rights. Berkley said Natalie Tan, slated for summer 2019, is “a heartwarming novel of magical realism in which an aspiring chef returns home to San Francisco following her estranged mother’s death and must master a series of enchanted recipes in order to revive her family’s old Chinatown restaurant.” The second book in the deal is scheduled for summer 2020.
‘Bob’s Burgers’ Writer Sells a Book on Autocomplete
Hollywood writer Justin Hook sold a book about the hilarious damage search engines can wreak on our language. Rebecca Hunt at Chronicle Books nabbed world rights to Autocomplete: The Book from Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group. Gottlieb said the book is “a curated collection of the funniest, saddest, strangest, and most beautiful ways that search engines such as Google offer to autocomplete popular searches.” Hook is a writer on the Fox show Bob’s Burgers and creator of the game Google Feud, which, Gottlieb said, “has been played over one billion times” and featured on The Tonight Show.
Porter’s Sophomore Novel to Graywolf
At Graywolf Press, Ethan Nosowsky took U.S. rights to Max Porter’s second novel, Lanny. Lisa Baker at Aitken Alexander represented Porter, whose debut, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, was published by Graywolf in 2016. The new novel is set in a village outside of London where a mythical figure called Dead Papa Toothwort who once loomed large in the imaginations of the local children, Graywolf explained, “awakens after a glorious slumber and becomes darkly fixated on a mischievous, ethereal boy named Lanny.” The book is set for a May 2019 release in the U.S., and rights to it have also sold to publishers in, among other countries, the U.K., France, Germany, and Spain.
Thomas & Mercer Nabs Three by Bryndza
Indie bestseller Robert Bryndza struck a six-figure, three-book deal with Thomas & Mercer for a new series set to launch in 2019. Liz Pearsons bought North American rights, at auction, to the books from Amy Tannenbaum at the Jane Rotrosen Agency. Bryndza, T&M said, has sold more than two million copies worldwide of his self-published Erika Foster series, which launched with The Girl in the Ice. The new series is built around a forensic profiler named Kate Marshall, and, following the 2019 release of book one, Shallow Graves, books two and three are set, respectively, for 2020 and 2021.
Mosse’s New Series to Minotaur
In a U.S. rights deal for three books, Kate Mosse sold a historical series to Catherine Richards at Minotaur Books. Mosse (The Taxidermist’s Daughter), Minotaur said, has sold more than seven million copies of her books worldwide, and the new series, which will launch with The Burning Chambers in spring 2019, is set during the French Wars of Religion, which stretched from the mid- to late 16th century. The Macmillan imprint said the Romeo and Juliet–esque epic will “tell the story of a 300-year feud stretching across the generations and across the globe.” George Lucas at Inkwell Management handled the U.S. sale on behalf of Mark Lucas at the London-based LAW Literary Agents. Mosse, who lives in England, is the cofounder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
McElderry Listens to Powell’s “Cacophony”
Kelly Powell sold North American rights, in a preempt, to her debut novel, Cacophony. Karen Wojtyla at Margaret K. McElderry Books acquired the YA title from Kristy Hunter at the Knight Agency. Hunter said the novel, a work of magical realism, follows a violinist working with a lighthouse keeper to “solve a murder on an island that is also home to deadly sirens who prey on the inhabitants.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated, in the headline, the publisher that acquired Jill Twiss' book; it's Razorbill, not Chronicle. The title of that book has also been updated; it's called Love Inc., not Love Delivered.
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.