Deal of the Week: Couric’s ‘Unexpected’ to LB
Katie Couric has sold a memoir. Judy Clain at Little, Brown took North American rights to Unexpected from William Morris Endeavor’s Suzanne Gluck. The book, LB said, will be Couric’s “own story, in her own words, her way.” Unexpected, slated for spring 2021, will chronicle the longtime TV journalist’s 40-year career as well as her personal life, touching on everything from her battle with bulimia, to the death of her husband at 42, to the passing of her older sister, Emily, who was a favorite to become governor of Virginia. The publisher added that Couric will also address “her occasionally crippling, lifelong feelings of insecurity and the challenge so many women in power face: balancing being strong with the nagging need to be liked.”
FROM THE U.S.
Scholastic Gets ‘Down’ with Stiefvater
In a high-six-figure deal, David Levithan at Scholastic bought world rights to Maggie Stiefvater’s Call Down the Hawk. The first book in a new series titled the Dreamer Trilogy, the book was sold in an exclusive submission by Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency; she said the novel follows “a young man who can manifest objects from his dreams.” He then finds that he is not the only one with this powerful gift. Rennert added that the book is “a unique blend of magic and mystery.” Stiefvater is the author, among other titles, of the bestselling Raven Cycle; Scholastic said that series has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Klein’s ‘Fire’ Kindles at S&S
For a rumored high-six-figure sum, Simon & Schuster’s Jonathan Karp bought U.S. rights to Naomi Klein’s On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal. S&S said the book captures the “urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the fiery energy of a rising political movement demanding a transformational Green New Deal.” Anthony Arnoveat the Roam Agency brokered the deal with Karp. Rights to the book in the author’s native Canada were acquired by Knopf Canada, while the book was nabbed by Allen Lane in the U.K.
Putnam Explores Barry’s ‘Providence’
Max Barry (Jennifer Government) sold a high-concept novel titled Providence to Mark Tavani at Putnam. The two-book, world rights deal was brokered by Luke Janklow at Janklow & Nesbit. Putnam said the title, set in the near future, follows “four astronauts sent to space to confront a planetary threat... only to find their mission undermines everything they knew of reality.” The publisher compared the novel, slated for spring 2020, to work by authors such as Orson Scott Card, Sylvain Neuvel, and Ernest Cline.
Holland’s New Series to B’bury
Bloomsbury’s Cindy Loh preempted world English rights in a two-book deal, for a rumored high six-figures, to Sara Holland’s YA fantasy series Havenfall. Holland (Everless) was represented by Stephen Barbara at Inkwell Management (working on behalf of Glasstown Entertainment); he described the series as “a lush, gothic fantasy.” It follows a girl who summers at her uncle’s once grand Rocky Mountain inn, Havenfall, which has “long served as neutral territory linking magical realms.” When a murder occurs at the inn, the heroine “must confront dark truths about herself and her family.” Bloomsbury USA and UK are both slated to publish book one in March 2020.
Crist Takes Chuckles to WaterBrook
Comedian John Crist sold a currently untitled book, his debut, to Random House’s WaterBrook imprint. Tina Constable and Andrew Stoddard nabbed world rights to the book, slated for spring 2020, from the United Talent Agency. Crist, a stand-up performer, has, according to Waterbrook, “one billion views of his comedy videos” and over three million followers on social media. The book, the publisher went on, “will offer a delightful dose of Crist’s signature wit as he explores themes from his upbringing, millennial foibles, and the bothersome trappings of modern life.”
Holt Pays Up for Solomon’s ‘V’
Serena Jones at Holt preempted North American rights, for a rumored high six-figures, to Anna Solomon’s The Book of V. The publisher described the novel, which Julie Barer at The Book Group sold, as “a kaleidoscopic feminist” tale that follows three women in three different time periods: the biblical Esther in ancient Persia; a senator’s wife in Washington, D.C., circa the 1970s; and a Brooklyn mother in 2016. Their stories, Holt went on, “overlap and ultimately converge in powerful and unexpected ways.” Solomon is a Pushcart Prize winner who’s written two previous novels: The Little Bird (Riverhead, 2011) and Leaving Lucy Pear (Viking, 2016). Book of V. is slated for 2020.
- Penguin Canada’s Hamish Hamilton imprint acquired Billy-Ray Belcourt’s essay collection A History of My Brief Body. Belcourt, winner of Canada’s 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize, was represented by the Transatlantic Agency, which said the book is “a meditation on grief, joy, love, and sex at the intersection of indigeneity and queerness.”
- After a six-publisher auction, Faber won the debut novel by Financial Times journalist Rebecca Watson, Little Scratch. The debut novel, acquired in the U.S. by Doubleday, is about, per Faber, a nameless woman “living in a lowercase world of demarcated fridge shelves and office politics; clock-watching and WhatsApp notifications.” [The Bookseller]
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- The first title in Jenn Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons series, Ruin of Kings (Tor, Feb.), has been optioned for series development by Annapurna Television. The epic fantasy series is, per the publisher, “about a long-lost royal whose fate is tied to the future of an empire.” [Deadline]
- Women in Sunlight (Crown, Apr. 2018), by Under the Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes, has been optioned by Water End Productions for feature adaptation. The novel follows three women who meet at a retirement community in the South and wind up heading to Europe and renting a villa in Italy. [Deadline]
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.