DEAL OF THE WEEK
Dorman Edges Competition for ‘Push’
For her eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House, Pamela Dorman nabbed U.S. rights to a sought-after debut novel in a rumored seven-figure deal. Ashley Audrain’s The Push, which also sold for significant sums in the U.K. (to Michael Joseph) and Canada (to Penguin Canada), is set for a simultaneous U.S./U.K./Canada publication in early 2021. Audrain is a former publicity director at Penguin Books Canada, and her novel is being touted by Pamela Dorman Books as “a tense, page-turning psychological” work that recalls such novels as We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Perfect Nanny. Adding to the burgeoning cache of domestic fiction that examines motherhood through a horror-suffused lens, the novel, Dorman said in a release, is “a story about mothers and their children, and about how an unspeakable act can reverberate and change the lives around us forever.” Madeleine Milburn at Madeleine Milburn Literary, who represented the author in the two-book deal, said that the novel has quickly become “an international sensation” and that, at press time, 23 foreign sales had closed.
FROM THE U.S.
HarperTeen Boards Wen’s ‘Loveboat’
After a six-house auction, HarperTeen’s Kristen Pettit won North American rights, for high six figures, to Abigail Hing Wen’s debut novel Loveboat, Taipei! Describing the book as “a YA Crazy Rich Asians meets a Jane Austen comedy of manners,” HarperTeen said it follows an 18-year-old Ohioan who is shipped off to Taiwan by her strict parents to study Mandarin for the summer. She finds, though, that the program is actually “an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat.” Wen works as an attorney in Silicon Valley; she was represented in the two-book deal by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media.
Lemmie’s ‘Rain’ Hits Dutton
Dutton’s Stephanie Kelly bought North American rights, at auction, to Asha Lemmie’s debut novel, Fifty Words for Rain. The book, Dutton said, follows “the illegitimate daughter of a Japanese noblewoman and an African-American GI, growing up in post-WWII American-occupied Japan.” Rebecca Scherer at the Jane Rotrosen Agency brokered the agreement.
Hocherman Nabs Rodriguez’s ‘Worm’
Cuban-American artist Edel Rodriguez sold a graphic memoir, at auction, to Riva Hocherman at Metropolitan Books. Hocherman took North American rights, for six figures, to Worm from agent Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties. The book, which is slated for 2021, chronicles, McGhee said, “the migration of Rodriguez’s family under horrific conditions on the Mariel boatlift.”
Chetwynd Re-ups at McMeel
On the heels of the success of her debut, Little Moments of Love, author-illustrator Catana Chetwynd sold her sophomore comics collection, Snug, to her current publisher, Andrews McMeel. Patty Rice took world English rights to the book from Kathleen Ortiz at New Leaf Literary & Media. Ortiz said Little Moments of Love, which was released in 2018, has sold more than 215,000 copies. Snug is set for February 2020.
PUP Pays for Book on Earnings Gap
Joe Jackson at Princeton University Press has stumped up six figures for a book about the gender pay gap by a Harvard economist. Claudia Goldin’s A Long Road sold in a world rights deal brokered by Jill Kneerim and Lucy V. Cleland at Kneerim & Williams and will, PUP said, offer “a fresh understanding of one of the most intractable problems in today’s economy—the gender earnings gap—by exploring five distinct groups of women of modern history who collectively trace how we got here, and why.” PUP added that the book, subtitled The Quest for Career and Family, “debunks long-held presumptions and inadequate theories by accurately diagnosing why a large fraction of highly talented women still cannot achieve both an equitable family life and a successful career.”
Dunbar’s Tubman Bio to 37Ink
At 37Ink, Dawn Davis took world rights to an illustrated biography of Harriet Tubman titled She Came to Slay by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. The author, a National Book Award finalist, was represented by Laura Dail, who has an eponymous shingle. Dail said the book explores lesser-known aspects of Tubman’s life and legacy, such as “her successes as a spy for the Union in the Civil War and her involvement in the suffrage movement.” The book was commissioned by Davis and is slated for November.
‘Farmer’s Lawyer’ Argues for B’bury
At auction, Bloomsbury’s Anton Mueller took world English rights to Sarah Vogel’s memoir, The Farmer’s Lawyer. The book, which Mackenzie Brady Watson at Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency sold, is about the 1983 class action that the author took on, defending, Bloomsbury said, “240,000 farmers against the threat of foreclosure at the hands of the U.S. government.” Vogel, an attorney based in North Dakota, is the first woman elected a state commissioner of agriculture.
● Howard Bryant’s The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism (Beacon, 2018) has been optioned for series adaptation. Deadline reported that Maverick TV plans to turn the nonfiction title into a multipart docu-series.
●Andy McDermott’s Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase series (published by Headline in the U.K. and available in mass market in the U.S. from Bantam) has been optioned by Divine Rights Media. Deadline reported that the upstart production company is aiming to “hatch a franchise” based on the bestselling books.
● The Serbian debut novel Uhvati zeca (Catch the Rabbit) has been acquired by Germany’s Fischer Verlag after a string of international sales (with deals having closed in, among other territories, Hungary, Italy, and Spain). Spain’s Salmaia-
Lit is handling foreign sales for Lana Bastašic´’s book, which it said is “about two Bosnian young women and their complicated friendship.”
● In the U.K., Orion Fiction acquired a historical novel about Oliver Cromwell’s youngest daughter by Miranda Malins. The Bookseller, citing a release from the publisher, said The Puritan Princess is about “the struggles of power, feminism, and hope for a better future against the backdrop of a warring country.
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.