DEAL OF THE WEEK
Alvarez Reemerges at Algonquin
After almost 15 years without a new adult book, Julia Alvarez sold North American rights to a novel titled Afterlife to her longtime publisher, Algonquin Books. Alvarez is the author of bestsellers including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991) and In the Time of Butterflies (1994); the latter, per Algonquin (which published both novels), has sold more than one million copies. Algonquin’s Amy Gash brokered the agreement with Stuart Bernstein at Stuart Bernstein Representation for Artists. Scheduled for April 2020, Afterlife, the publisher said, is “a luminous look inside the mind of a literature professor, an immigrant trying to rediscover who she is after the sudden death of her husband.”
FROM THE U.S.
Berman’s ‘Men’ Land at Audible
In an audio-only deal, Jessica Almon Galland at Audible acquired Alice Berman’s I Eat Men Like Air for the company’s Originals program. Stephen Barbara at Inkwell Management, who represented Berman, said the story follows seven 20-somethings gathered in New Hampshire for the impending nuptials of two of their friends. Barbara elaborated that the work, which is told in “dual timelines” in the months leading up to the wedding, “is a riveting look at the unraveling of a friend group punctured by violence, and a chilling look at the rage that festers when it’s kept secret.” Audible will release the audiobook on September 26. Berman, whose novel Lost Boys and Technicolor Girls is in development at cable TV channel Freeform (but has not yet sold to a publisher), won the Gibson Peacock Award for creative nonfiction from her alma mater, University of Pennsylvania.
Mansbach’s ‘Brother’ to One World
Chris Jackson at One World nabbed world rights to Adam Mansbach’s I Had a Brother Once, which the Penguin Random House imprint described as an “epic poem” about the suicide of the author’s brother. Mansbach, author of the 2008 novel The End of the Jews (Random/Spiegel & Grau) and the million-copy-selling 2011 children’s book spoof Go the F**k to Sleep (Akashic), was represented by Richard Abate at 3Arts; Abate sold the book in an exclusive submission. One World, elaborating on Brother, called it “an insightful meditation on the mysteries of grief, loss, mortality, and the inner lives of the people we love the most.”
Zweig’s Branding Book to Sounds True
Diane Ventimiglia at Sounds True won a four-house auction for world rights to Jessica Zweig’s Be: A No Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth, paying six figures. The spirituality publisher said the book, set for 2021, will espouse the entrepreneur’s expertise in personal branding and explain how to use “personal empowerment to build the ‘right’ business brand—not just the bottom line.” Zweig, who was represented by Marilyn Allen at Allen O’Shea Literary, is the founder of the personal branding agency SimplyBe.
Atheneum Wins Namey’s ‘Girl’ at Auction
Atheneum’s Alex Borbolla bought world English rights to A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Sweaters and Stars at auction. The sophomore novel by Laura Taylor Namey(The Library of Lost Things) was sold by Natascha Morris at Bookends. Atheneum said the book follows Lila Flores, who, after her post–high school plans collapse, is shipped off to England to live with family friends. Expecting the experience abroad to be a bust, the heroine is pleasantly surprised when, Atheneum explained, “she falls for tea shop clerk Orion Maxwell and, most surprisingly, England itself.” The YA novel is set for fall 2020.
HMH Lands New Lowry Book
In a world rights deal, Margaret Raymo at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired a new middle grade book by The Giver author Lois Lowry. On the Horizon is a nonfiction work written in verse. The book by the two-time Newbery Medalist, who was represented by Emily van Beek at Folio Literary Management, is, HMH said, drawn from a combination of research and the author’s childhood memories. HMH added that the book “tells the story of soldiers and civilians whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.” The illustrator on the project, Kenard Pak, was represented by Kirsten Hall at the Catbird Agency. Horizon is slated for an April 2020 release.
McHugh’s ‘Royal’ Is Crowned at Morrow
In a preempt, Lucia Macro at William Morrow acquired The Princess Royal by Clare McHugh. The debut novel, explained McHugh’s agent, Laura Dail at the Laura Dail Literary Agency, is historical fiction and focuses on Vicky, the oldest daughter of Queen Victoria. Dail explained that Vicky, after being married to the crown prince of Prussia, saw her “romantic life thwarted by reactionary forces, including her own son, Kaiser Wilhelm.” Dail, elaborating, said the novel is “a story of marriage and motherhood, and of a woman finding her role and voice.” McHugh works in media and was most recently the senior director of editorial operations for Time Inc.’s News and Lifestyle brands.
● U.K.-based production company Lime Pictures optioned James Gould-Burn’s debut novel, Keeping Mum. The novel is about a father who finds an unconventional way to communicate with his young son, who became mute after his mother died in car crash. It’s being published in June 2020 in the U.K. Scribner has North American rights.
● According to Deadline, Disney+ optioned Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep (HarperTeen). The National Book Award winner is about a 15-year-old’s descent into schizophrenia. Screenwriter Will McCormack is set to adapt the novel.
● Greek publisher Skarifima Editions acquired the Spanish debut novel Vozdevieja by Elisa Victoria. The book was originally published by Spain’s Blackie Books in February. Spanish agency SalmaiaLit, which handled the sale, said the novel is about “a girl who sails through the long summer of Seville in 1990.”
● Switzerland-based British journalist Caroline Bishop sold her debut novel to Simon & Schuster UK in a preempt. Hayley Steed at the Madeleine Milburn Agency handled the sale, the Bookseller reported, for The Other Daughter. S&S UK described the book to the Bookseller as having “a dual narrative that brilliantly explores the themes of motherhood and feminism, identity and belonging.”
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct pub date for Berman's books, and for clarity.