Deal of the Week: RH Invests in Paleobiologist’s ‘Worlds’

For a rumored high six figures, Hilary Redmon at Random House preempted U.S. rights to Thomas Halliday’s Yesterday’s Worlds. The author is a 29-year-old paleobiologist (an expert on assessing fossils of plants and animals) and the book, according to agent Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, uses the latest science to examine “deep time and revive extinct worlds—from the most recent ice age at the end of the Pleistocene period to the emergence of early multicellular creatures over 550 million years ago.” Pagnamenta brokered the deal for the book, subtitled Travels in Earth’s Extinct Ecosystems, on behalf of Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.


DiCamillo’s Latest to Candlewick

In a rumored seven-figure deal, Karen Lotz at Candlewick Press bought Kate DiCamillo’s novel Beverly, Right Here. DiCamillo, a two-time Newbery Medalist, was represented by Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties in the world rights agreement. The publisher said the book, a follow-up to the 2016 National Book Award finalist Raymie Nightingale, follows a “tough-talking” heroine named Beverly Tapinski. The book, which Candlewick executive editor Andrea Tompa is set to edit, will be published in fall 2019.

MCD Nabs Book on Unsung Rap Icon

Dan Charnas (The Big Payback) and Jeff Peretz (Zen and the Art of Guitar) sold world rights to DillaTime: How a Hip-Hop Producer Reinvented Rhythm and Changed the Way Musicians Play to FSG’s MCD imprint. The book, preempted by Sean McDonald and Danny Vazquez from David Dunton at Harvey Klinger Inc., explores the influence of the Detroit-based producer J Dilla, who died in 2006 at age 32. A cult figure on the hip-hop scene, J Dilla, Dunton said, established ideas about musical time that were so influential he deserves to be included “in the pantheon of music genius alongside the likes of Thelonious Monk, James Brown, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington.” The book is set for February 2021.

Hawkins Goes ‘Upstairs’ at SMP

YA author Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall series) sold world English rights to her adult debut, The Wife Upstairs, to Sarah Cantin at St. Martin’s Press. Cantin preempted the book from Holly Root at Root Literary, who brokered the deal on behalf of Joelle Hobeika, Josh Bank and Sara Shandler at Alloy Entertainment. The contemporary Southern Gothic, according to Cantin, “reimagines Jane Eyre as a domestic noir.”

Ensler Delivers ‘Apology’ to B’bury

Nancy Miller at Bloomsbury nabbed world rights to Eve Ensler’s The Apology. The book, slated for May 2019, is, Bloomsbury said, an “examination of abuse and atonement.” Ensler was sexually abused by her father, and the book is written from his point of view. Bloomsbury elaborated that in The Apology, Ensler “explores the deepest and most intimate questions that can be asked at this moment: why do men carry out abuse, often against the people they know and love the most?” Charlotte Sheedy, who has an eponymous shingle, represented Ensler.

Nix Closes Double at HC

Australian bestseller Garth Nix (Old Kingdom series) sold North American rights to two new novels to Katherine Tegen. Tegen, acquiring for her eponymous imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, brokered the agreement with Jill Grinberg of Jill Grinberg Literary Management. HC described the first book in the deal, Angel Mage, as “a high fantasy set in an alternative 17th-century Europe with beastlings, angels, and magic.” Angel Mage is set for a worldwide publication in October. The second title, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, is set in 1980s London and follows an art student who, HC said, “is drawn into the arcane business of the booksellers whose secret sideline is to ensure that mythic entities and dormant legends do not disastrously intrude into the modern world.” Booksellers of London is slated for 2020.

Mira Takes New Devereaux Trilogy

RWA Golden Heart award winner Jude Deveraux closed a rumored mid-six-figure deal, with Mira, for a new trilogy called the Angel Series. Deveraux is writing the series with Tara Sheets (Don’t Call Me Cupcake). Robert Gottlieb and Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group represented the authors—Gottlieb handling Devereaux and Phair handling Sheets—and brokered the North American rights agreement, for three books, with Mira’s Margaret Marbury. Trident said the series, subtitled A Trilogy of Love, Murder, and Destiny, is “a paranormal love story that tells the tale of two lovers torn apart in one century and reunited in another.”

Behind the Deal

In a joint deal for a podcast and a book, Simon & Schuster signed comedian and TV personality Mo Rocca to write Mobituaries. Rocca, a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and creator of the Cooking Channel’s My Grand-mother’s Ravioli, is, S&S said, a lover of obituaries, and the book/podcast will be “an irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people and things of the past who have long intrigued him.” The book is set for November, and the podcast had its debut last week. (The podcast is set for an eight-week initial season, with episodes airing weekly.)

Cary Goldstein at S&S said that the publisher and CBS are sharing costs and revenue on the project. He also feels that the deal ventures, to an extent, into uncharted waters: though podcasts have been spun off into books, and vice versa, this approach is something different.

“The book is not a reproduction of the podcast,” Goldstein said. Noting that the show and book were conceived “whole cloth” together, he feels the effort marks a new way to think about pairing the mediums—and to strike future deals.


  • For Knopf Canada, Lynn Henry took Canadian rights in a two-book deal to Giller Prize–winner Joshua Whitehead’s Making Love with the Land at auction. Stephanie Sinclair at the Transatlantic Agency, who represented Whitehead, said the book “ruminates on topics such as indigeneity, queerness, mental health, body dysmorphia, and chronic pain.”

  • The Bodley Head, an imprint of PRH UK, acquired a nonfiction book by British journalist Rachel Cooke. The publisher said the work will be “a lucid and brilliant journey through the complex terrain of sex and seduction, desire and morality, culture and art.” The currently untitled work is set for 2020. [The Bookseller]


  • Amazon Studios and Circle of Confusion TV Studios have partnered to develop an hourlong drama called Thirteen, based on Mike Oeming and Dan Berman’s graphic novel Six (Image). Stefan Jaworski is attached to write, while Michael Dinner (whose credits include episodes of Justified) is attached to direct. [Deadline]

  • Nick Hornby’s 2007 novel Slam (Putnam) is headed for Broadway. Skateboarder Tony Hawk is teaming up with musician/composer Mark Mothersbaugh (formerly of Devo) to turn the work into a musical. The production is slated to open on Broadway during the 2020–2021 season. [Rolling Stone]

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