Cocreator of ‘Mooncakes’ Goes Solo for Six Figures

For six figures, Alexandra Cooper at Harper Children’s preempted North American rights to three graphic novels, two middle grade and one YA, by Wendy Xu, cocreator of Mooncakes, for her solo debut. Tidesong, set for release in 2021, features an ambitious 12-year-old who moves to a seaside town with her aunts for an apprenticeship in magic and realizes that it may be more than she bargained for. The second book in the deal, due out a year after Tidesong, is The Infinity Particle, a speculative YA with shades of Ghost in the Shell about a young woman whose best friend and first love suddenly reappears in her life after being presumed dead for three years. The second, as-yet-untitled middle grade book will be published in 2023. Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency brokered the deal.


Anne Tyler Sticks with Knopf

Jesseca Salky at Hannigan Salky Getzler sold North American rights to Anne Tyler’s 24th novel, Redhead by the Side of the Road, described by the agency as a look into the heart and mind of a man who finds those around him just out of reach, due out in spring 2020. Diana Tejerina Miller at Knopf signed the deal.

Crown Goes All Out for Rachel Maddow’s ‘Blowout’

Crown v-p and executive editor Rachel Klayman nabbed world rights to Rachel Maddow’s Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth from Laurie Liss of Sterling Lord Literistic. Maddow is the host of MSNBC’s Emmy Award–winning The Rachel Maddow Show.Set for October, Blowout, per the publisher, “offers a dark, serpentine, riveting tour of the unimaginably lucrative and corrupt oil and gas industry.”

Putnam Buys Debut About Forbidden Love

Sally Kim at Putnam came out the winner of a heated auction conducted by PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit Associates for Robert Jones Jr.’s debut novel, The Prophets, which, according to the publisher, examines a relationship between two enslaved young men in the Deep South whose love threatens and challenges all around them. The publisher said that Jones’s story summons the voices of slaver and enslaved alike “with an indelible lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison.”

Dorman Preempts for One of PW’s Own

In what the publisher described as a major preempt, Pamela Dorman acquired world rights for her eponymous imprint at Viking to The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas, who reviews regularly for PW. The novel explores the impact of having children on women’s lives. Miriam Altshuler at DeFiore and Company brokered the deal. International rights were sold to nine countries.

Holt Slam Dunks for NCAA Coach

Holt executive editor Paul Golob acquired North American rights to John Thompson’s autobiography, I Came as a Shadow. Thompson, the head basketball coach at Georgetown University from 1972 to 1999, led the team to the 1984 NCAA national championship. He wrote the book, to be published in 2021, with Jesse Washington, a senior writer at ESPN’s The Undefeated website. David Black, who has an eponymous agency, brokered the deal.

Morrow Signs ‘General Hospital’ Star

Lisa Sharkey, senior v-p and director of creative development at HarperCollins, has acquired world rights to two-time Emmy Award–winning General Hospital star Maurice Benard’s memoir, Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital. In the memoir, according to the publisher, Benard chronicles his struggle with bipolar disorder, which he was diagnosed with at age 20. Anna Montague will edit the book, to be published in April 2020 under the Morrow imprint. Jennifer De Chiara, who has an eponymous agency, negotiated the deal.

Pegasus Has Illiberalism on Its Mind

Claiborne Hancock won, at an auction conducted by Don Fehr at Trident Media Group North American, rights to Illiberalism on My Mind: The GOP’s War on the Founders and the American Idea by Keven O’Leary, author of Saving Democracy and political science professor at Chapman University. According to the agency, O’Leary examines the liberal vs. illiberal dynamic in American history and presents a compelling argument about how it profoundly shapes the politics of the present and the 2020 presidential campaign.

Behind the Deal

Dawn Davis, v-p and publisher of 37 Ink, snagged world publishing rights in all formats to a memoir by Susan E. Rice, former national security advisor to President Barack Obama and former U.S. ambassador to the UN Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For will release in October.

In the book, Rice reflects on a career on the front lines of American national security and foreign policy and recounts stories about the war against ISIS, the Edward Snowden leaks, the Syria conflict, Russian interference in the 2016 election, the transition from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, and more. She also delivers what the publisher said is an inspiring account of a life in service to family and country.

“Ever since my name became synonymous with Benghazi, I have wanted to tell my own story—who I am, where I came from, what motivates and defines me,” Rice noted in the publisher’s announcement. She was represented by David Larabell and Mollie Glick at Creative Artists Agency.


Jeff Benedict, coauthor with Armen Keteyian of the recently published biography Tiger Woods, has teamed up Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment for a joint film and television venture. Their first project will be to shop a scripted, limited series based on the Woods biography.


The Bookseller reported that Fitzcarraldo Editions has snapped up a book on gender politics by philosopher Paul B. Preciado, including an account of the author’s own gender transition. Publisher Jacques Testard acquired U.K. and Commonwealth rights to An Apartment on Uranus from María Lynch at Barcelona’s Casanovas & Lynch agency. It will be published in January 2020 in Charlotte Mandell’s translation from the French, and simultaneously by Semiotext(e) in the U.S.

The Bookseller also reported that Jon Woolcott, publisher of Little Toller Books, acquired world rights to Diary of a Naturalist by Dara McAnulty, a 15-year-old conservationist, activist, and naturalist who has autism. “This is our biggest book yet,” Woolcott said. Describing it as “raw in the telling,” the publisher said that the book, due in spring 2020, portrays McAnulty’s connection to the natural world and his life as a teenager juggling exams and friendships with his work campaigning.

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