DEAL OF THE WEEK
Hachette Nabs Anonymous ‘Times’ Op-Ed Author
The mystery author known to New York Times readers as “a senior official in the Trump administration” has a book deal. The anonymous scribe behind the much-discussed op-ed in the newspaper, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” sold a book to Hachette’s Twelve imprint. A Warning, which Sean Desmond bought from Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn at Washington, D.C.’s Javelin literary agency, is set for November 19. The author, who will remain nameless, is not accepting an advance for the title and, per his publisher, is dedicating the majority of any potential earnings through royalties to nonprofits that support government accountability and the defense of a free press. In a letter PW obtained announcing the book to insiders, from Javelin, the agency called the work “explosive and unprecedented,” adding that it was “written under extreme secrecy by someone in the room with the President and other senior administration officials on multiple occasions.” The agency also confidently, and with some justification, declared that the book will be “the publishing event of the year.” Twelve bought world English rights, as well as rights in France and Spain.
FROM THE U.S.
HMH Crashes ‘Impeach’
There is no shortage of big books about President Trump this week, as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced its own title on the commander-in-chief, who is under increasing threat from the unfolding impeachment investigation. Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump is also being crashed: it’s slated for November 26. Alex Littlefield took North American rights to the book by former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal (written with Sam Koppelman). HMH said the work makes the case that “President Trump has left Congress with no choice but to remove him from office.” Howard Yoon at the Washington, D.C.–based Ross Yoon Agency represented Katyal and Koppelman.
Wallace’s ‘Childhood’ Goes to Portfolio
Portfolio’s Niki Papadopoulos won North American rights, at auction, to Jennifer Wallace’s Childhood Inc. in a rumored six-figure deal. Gráinne Fox and Christy Fletcher at Fletcher & Co. represented the author, and Fox said that the title “uncovers the hidden societal forces driving today’s toxic achievement culture and offers solutions from experts, parents, and communities trying to forge a better path forward.” Wallace is a journalist who contributes to the Washington Post.
Hyde Re-ups at Lake Union
Bestseller Catherine Ryan Hyde (Pay It Forward) closed a high-six-figure, four-book deal with Lake Union Publishing. Jodi Warshaw bought world rights to the books, with Hyde’s newest, Seven Perfect Things, anchoring the agreement. Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, who brokered the deal, said Seven follows “a teenage girl who rescues and raises seven abandoned puppies with the help of a recently widowed man, with unexpected, life-affirming results.”
HC Preps to Drop Kelly’s ‘Coin’
After a six-way auction, HarperCollins won world rights, for six figures, to The Other Side of the Coin by Angela Kelly. The author has worked for Queen Elizabeth II for 25 years as an advisor and designer, and the book, which offers a peek inside the corridors of Buckingham Palace, marks the first time a member of the queen’s staff has been granted permission to tell his or her story, per the publisher. Described by some sources close to the deal as “My Fair Lady meets The Crown,” the book, which will publish globally on October 29, is also a tale of an unlikely friendship. HarperNonFiction editorial director Katya Shipster acquired the title from Elizabeth Sheinkman at the Peters Fraser and Dunlop agency. Sheinkman, who has worked on the project with Kelly for two years, said the book is “about a remarkable and enduring female friendship that has evolved over 25 years—transcending class divides.”
‘Beast’ Lands at Aladdin
Following a six-figure preempt in the U.K., Aladdin bought North American rights to Jack Meggitt-Phillips’s The Beast and Bethany. The debut middle grade novel, which has been described as “Lemony Snicket meets Dorian Gray,” is slated for spring 2021. The publisher said the book is about a shallow man named Ebenezer Tweezer “and his friendship with an incredibly naughty girl named Bethany, and the prospect of at least one of them getting eaten by the beast in the attic.” Rachel Mann at Jo Unwin Literary Agency brokered the two-book agreement with Aladdin’s Tricia Lin.
Morrow Preempts Silvey’s ‘Life’
Meet Me in Another Life, a debut novel, was preempted by William Morrow after being the subject of a three-house auction in the U.K. Julia Elliott took North American rights to the title by newcomer Catriona Silvey. Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio, who represented Silvey on behalf of agent Bryony Woods at Diamond Kahn & Woods, said the speculative work follows two students living in a foreign city who bond, only to be separated by an accident. “But when they continue to reconnect in different lives,” she added, “they must uncover the mystery of their shared story.”
Behind the Deal
A novel that sold in the U.K. years ago (and since evolved into a trilogy) generated much buzz at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair and has just been submitted to U.S. editors. Deepti Kapoor’s Age of Vice, about a wealthy and corrupt Indian family, did not begin life with this kind of heat, though. When Kapoor’s first agent submitted a proposal, there were no takers. The author then signed with a new agent, Anna Stein at the London outpost of ICM Partners, and on Stein’s advice, set out to finish the novel.
As luck would have it, Stein soon got a call about the proposal. Ursula Doyle at Fleet (a Little, Brown UK imprint) wanted it. According to Stein, the proposal “had been sitting on [Doyle’s] desk and she’d finally gotten to it and wanted to buy it.”
Kapoor (whose debut, A Bad Character, pubbed in the U.K. in 2015) kept working on the project, expanding it into a series. Stein bided her time on the film and foreign rights and then struck just before Frankfurt, taking the manuscript out, as she put it, “everywhere simultaneously.” The Age of Vice has now been preempted in 15 territories.
And as for a screen adaptation, Stein confirmed there are offers from more than 10 production companies, and that Kapoor “will be deeply involved... writing and producing, no matter who we go with.”
● Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the creators of the Showtime series Billions, are developing a series based on New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac’s book, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (Norton). Showtime is set to produce the new series as well.
● Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King (Norton) has been optioned by Atlas Entertainment. Deadline reported the deal. PW gave the 1935-set novel a starred review, describing it as bringing “heart and authenticity to a slice of Ethiopian history” and standing as an “evocative, mesmerizing account of the role of women during wartime.”
● U.S. indie house Two Dollar Radio acquired a novel titled A History of My Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt. Belcourt is the youngest winner of Canada’s Griffin Poetry Prize. His agent, Stephanie Sinclair at the Transatlantic Agency, said the novel is “a meditation on grief, joy, love, and sex at the intersection of indigeneity and queerness.”
● According to The Bookseller, Doubleday (in the U.K.) acquired Hallie Rubenhold’s true crime title Bad Women for six figures. The trade publication said the book follows “the 1910 murder of Belle Elmore by her husband... and the extraordinary women caught up in these events.” Rubenhold’s The Five is on the short list for the 2019 Baillie Gifford Prize.
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.