DEAL OF THE WEEK
Follett Says Good ‘Evening’ to Viking
Ken Follett sold a prequel to his popular novel The Pillars of the Earth to Viking. The Evening and the Morning, acquired in a North American rights deal by Brian Tart, is set at the close of the Dark Ages in the year 1000. The novel unfolds at a time when, as the publisher explained, “England is under constant attack from Vikings and is soon to be conquered by Normans.” The story grapples with “the origins of a legal system that does not merely serve the ruling chieftains” and a brutal era that “Follett brings vividly to life.” According to the Penguin imprint, Pillars of the Earth has sold more than 27 million copies, and Follett has more than 170 million copies in print of his 31 books. Barbara Follett at the Follett Group represented the author.
FROM THE U.S.
HMH Inks ‘Root’ Writer Harriot
For a reported seven-figure sum, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt bought two books by Michael Harriot, a senior writer for The Root. Kate Napolitano won the books, Wypipology and Black AF History, after what HMH called “a competitive auction.” Harriot, who won the 2019 National Association of Black Journalists award for digital commentary, was represented by Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary. Wypipology is, HMH said, “a master class on the customs and habits of white folks.” Black AF History offers, per HMH, Harriot’s “unique spin to existing historical narratives.”
Philomel Buys ‘Trouble’
In a preempt, Philomel’s Kelsey Murphy took North American rights to Sarah Prineas’s middle grade novel Trouble in the Stars. Melanie Castillo at Root Literary Agency represented Prineas and said she pitched the book as “Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Diabolic.” In the novel, Castillo said, “a young shapeshifter on the run from the law stows away on a ship and befriends its motley crew.” Discovering the crew has its own secrets, the young hero “must decide what matters more: his quest for answers to his hidden past or the safety of his newfound family.” Trouble is set for spring 2021.
SMP Welcomes Cullors’s ‘Abolitionist’
An essay collection titled The Abolitionist Handbook, written by Sydney Peace Prize–winner Patrisse-Khan Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir), was acquired by Monique Patterson at St. Martin’s Press. Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates, who handled the world English rights deal, said the book “charts a framework for how everyday activists can effectively fight for the liberation of black people and the poor and disenfranchised.” Denene Millner, who oversees an eponymous imprint at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, is credited as an editor on the book in a role that, Sanders said, will entail “guiding Cullors in the formulation and content of the book.”
Moore’s ‘Five Days’ Pass at One World
One World publisher Chris Jackson nabbed North American rights to Wes Moore’s Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an AmericanCity. The nonfiction book, slated for April 2020, focuses on the protests that seized Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in policy custody in 2015. Moore, a Baltimore native, bestselling author, and CEO of the nonprofit Robin Hood, collaborated on the title with Baltimore Sun reporter Erica L. Green. One World said the book examines the protests through the lenses of “seven Baltimoreans whose lives intersected on those five days.” The viewpoints, One World elaborated, offer a “kaleidoscopic account of one of the emblematic and defining moments of our recent history.” Linda Loewenthal at the Loewenthal Company represented Moore.