DEAL OF THE WEEK
Einhorn Breaks the Bank, Again, for Cummins
Jeanine Cummins, whose forthcoming novel American Dirt was bought last year in a competitive auction for seven figures, sold a new book, for a rumored seven-figure sum, to her standing publisher, Flatiron Books. Flatiron’s Amy Einhorn nabbed the currently untitled novel from Doug Stewart at Sterling Lord Literistic; Einhorn took rights in the U.S., Canada, the Philippines, and the nonexclusive open market. The new novel does not yet have a publication date. American Dirt, championed as an of-the-moment work of fiction because of its focus on immigration and the migrant experience, chronicles a mother fleeing the violence in her Mexican city and attempting to cross the border with her young son. Among the most talked-about books at this year’s BookExpo, where Cummins did a signing, the novel was also optioned by Imperative Entertainment, the production company behind the Clint Eastwood vehicle The Mule.
FROM THE U.S.
S&S Editor Turns Novelist for PRH
Rising editor Daniel Loedel, who works at Scribner, sold his debut novel, Hades, Argentina, to Rebecca Saletan at Riverhead. Loedel’s authors include Virginia Reeves (who’s been longlisted for the Booker Prize) and Aravind Adiga (who’s won the Booker); he was also named one of PW’s 2017 Star Watch finalists. The novel, Riverhead explained, “is about a man who returns to Argentina a decade after fleeing the political violence of the Dirty War, and discovers he must grapple with the ghosts of his past.” Marya Spence at Janklow & Nesbit brokered the world English rights agreement for Loedel.
Traveling ‘Quixote’ Goes to HarperOne
For HarperOne, Judith Curr and Juan Milá bought world English and Spanish rights to Stephen Haff’s Kid Quixotes: A Group of Students, Their Teacher, and the One-Room School Where Everything Is Possible. The book, which Johanna Castillo at Writers House sold, is about an after-school program Haff ran in Brooklyn for undocumented immigrants. Through the program, called Still Waters in a Storm, kids between the ages of five and 17 translated sections of Don Quixote and then wrote a modern musical based on the classic. In their take, which they performed on tour, the title character is a young, undocumented Mexican immigrant living in New York City. In a concurrent deal, a children’s edition by Haff and Sarah Sierra (the nine-year-old who played Quixote in the musical) was acquired by Nancy Inteli and Jill Davis. The book, titled Kid Quixote: A True Story of Belonging in America, “tells the story from Sarah’s point of view,” Castillo said, and is geared toward middle grade readers.
Sourcebooks Backs Blooms’s ‘Bone’
In a North American rights acquisition, Shana Drehs at Sourcebooks bought Ashley Blooms’s debut novel, Every Bone a Prayer. Sold by Writers House’s Alexandra Levick, the novel is being touted as a cross between The Lovely Bones and Where the Crawdads Sing; it follows a 10-year-old, Sourcebooks said, “who, in trying to learn more about her secret empathic ability, becomes entangled with her Appalachian community’s dark past in order to break generational cycles of abuse.” Noting that it is particularly excited about the novel, Sourcebooks said it gave away unusually early ARC editions at last week’s SIBA Discovery Show in an effort to draw support from indie booksellers. Levick, explaining what made the novel stand out, said she regularly sees books about experiencing trauma but more rarely reads works about “the long, winding, often bumpy road of healing from trauma—of hope in the darkness.”
CRP Buys Ephron Bio
Touted by its publisher as “the first thoroughly researched biography” of its subject, Nora Ephron: A Life was acquired by Chicago Review Press. Kara Rota took world rights to the book by Kristin Marguerite Doidge from Betsy Amster at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. The indie press said the book will “take readers beyond the ‘rom-com queen’ persona of Ephron to find a far more complex and intelligent artist with many layers beneath the glossy surface.” Doidge is a film scholar and lecturer at Loyola Marymount University.
Scholastic Nabs Yang’s ‘Front Desk’ Sequel
In a two-book deal, Scholastic’s Amanda Maciel bought the sequel to Kelly Yang’s Front Desk. The latter, a 2018 middle grade novel that won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature, follows an Asian-American girl who lives and works in the motel where her immigrant parents are on the cleaning staff. The sequel, Three Keys, focuses again on Mia and what happens when, Scholastic explained, “immigration laws rattle the Calivista motel, school life, and what it means to be ‘American.’ ” Tina Dubois at ICM Partners handled the North American rights agreement.
Candlewick Collects Klassen’s ‘Rock’
Jon Klassen sold world rights to The Rock from the Sky to Liz Bicknell at Candlewick. The publisher called the book, which marks Klassen’s fourth as author-illustrator, “a hilarious meditation on friendship, fate, and that funny feeling you get when there’s something off but you just can’t put your finger on it.” The two-time Caldecott Medalist has worked on numerous titles as an illustrator, and Candlewick estimated there are four million copies of his books in print. Steven Malk at Writers House brokered the sale for Rock, which is slated for March 2021.
● Per Deadline, Paramount Pictures optioned Marcus Sakey’s novel Brilliance (Thomas & Mercer), the first in a same-titled trilogy. Set in an X-Men-like world where a small group of people born with special powers are demonized for the threat they pose to the “normal” population, book one follows a federal agent, to be played by Will Smith, who tracks and kills so-called Brilliants. The project will be produced by James Lassiter and Shane Salerno.
● Stephen King’s just-published novel The Institute (Scribner) has been optioned for limited series by Spyglass Media, with David E. Kelley attached to adapt.
● Waiting for a Star to Fall by Kerry Clare sold, in a North American rights deal, to Doubleday Canada. Samantha Haywood at the Transatlantic Agency, who handled the sale, said the novel is reminiscent of work by authors such as Emily Giffin; it follows “a young woman whose on-again/off-again boyfriend, a political superstar, is brought down by decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct.”
● Ben Miller inked a three-book deal with Simon & Schuster Children’s UK. Per a report in the Bookseller, the publisher said Miller is now set to become “a major force in children’s publishing.” His debut picture book, The Night I Met Father Christmas, was published by S&S Children’s UK last year.
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.