Chang Takes ‘Queens’ to FSG

Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor-in-chief Eric Chinski preempted North American rights to Leah Redmond Chang’s Young Queens. The work of narrative nonfiction, per Chang’s agent, Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management, is about four royals of the Renaissance: Catherine de Medici, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth Tudor, and Elisabeth de Valois. Grinberg said the book follows the queens, “who, as girls, adolescents, and young women, navigated revolutions and the rise and fall of dynasties—but learned that, for women, power always came with a price.” A number of foreign sales have also closed on the book, with deals finalized in the U.K. and Italy.

Hunter Closes Double
Allison Hunter of Janklow & Nesbit, in the first of two deals that she closed this week, sold Mary Pauline Lowry’s The Roxy Letters to Christine Pride at Simon & Schuster. Pride preempted world rights to the epistolary novel about a millennial working at a Whole Foods in Austin, Tex. Hunter compared the novel to Where’d You Go Bernadette and Bridget Jones’ Diary, and explained that the “underemployed heroine, who is sexually frustrated and looking for love in all the wrong places, becomes outraged by the gentrification that is slowly changing her beloved city and decides to take action when a corporation selling $100 yoga pants moves in.”

In a second deal, Hunter sold Kate Weinberg’s The Truants to Helen Richard at Putnam, in a preempt, on behalf of Claire Conrad at Janklow & Nesbit UK. The novel, which Bloomsbury acquired in the U.K., is, Putnam said, “a seductive and thrilling coming-of-age novel about obsession and deceit on a college campus, in which a shocking love triangle and a heartbreaking betrayal will fuel one woman’s search for the truth.”

The Experiment Nabs Book on Fear
After an auction, the Experiment’s Nicholas Cizek won U.S. rights to Eva Holland’s Shake It Off: A Personal Journey Through the Science of Facing Our Fears. Holland, a long-form journalist, was represented by Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar Literary Associates, who said she pitched the nonfiction title as “a mix of Mary Roach and Cheryl Strayed.” The book, Weltz explained, explores the “universal human questions” of how and why we feel fear, and seeks to answer whether there is a “cure” for our fears that can be found in facing them. Concurrent with the U.S. deal, the title was acquired by Penguin Canada.

‘Vikings’ Sail to Scout Press
When We Were Vikings by Andrew MacDonald was preempted by Alison Callahan at Scout Press. Callahan took world English rights to the novel from Grace A. Ross at Regal Hoffmann & Associates. Ross said she pitched the title as “Mark Haddon meets Graeme Simsion,” and that it follows “an out-of-the-ordinary heroine who dreams of becoming a real-life Viking.” Elaborating, Ross said the heroine then “launches a quest to find independence and autonomy in a world that refuses to see her as an adult.”

Skyhorse Buys Collection of Jackson Letters
For Skyhorse Publishing, Cal Barksdale took world rights to Jacqueline L. Jackson’s Loving You, Thinking of You, Don’t Forget to Pray: Letters to My Son in Prison. The author is the wife of Jesse L. Jackson Sr., and the book is a compilation of letters she sent to her son, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., during 30 months when he was in prison. (Jackson Jr., a former Congressman, was charged with pilfering from his campaign funds and tax evasion in 2013.) The book, Skyhorse said, explores “the ongoing conversation about our broken criminal justice system and offers a blueprint for families across the country to support loved ones who are incarcerated or isolated.” The book, set for February 2019, was sold by April Smith at the KinZac Group.

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Leah Redmond Chang's Young Queens as a novel; it is a work of narrative nonfiction. Additionally, Jesse L. Jackson Jr. spent 30 months in prison, not 30 days.

For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.