Robinson’s Prodigal Son Returns to FSG

When President Obama awarded Marilynne Robinson the National Humanities Medal, he said,  “Your writings have changed me—I think for the better.” He and her multitudes of fans will cheer at the recent news that the  Pulitzer Prize winner returns to the world of Gilead, Iowa, with Jack, due from FSG on September 15. The book, the publisher said, is about the “beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead.... In segregated St. Louis sometime after WWII, Jack falls in love with Della Miles, an African-American high school teacher who is also the daughter of a preacher. Their fraught, beautiful romance is one of Robinson’s greatest achievements.” Jonathan Galassi, Robinson’s editor and president of FSG, bought U.S. rights from Ellen Levine at Trident Media. Galassi said, “The Gilead novels are about the dilemmas and promise of American history. They touch the deepest chords in our national character and resonate with our deepest feelings.” U.K. and Canada rights went to Virago and McClelland and Stewart, respectively.



Dial Believes in ‘Santa in the City’

Ellen Cormier at Dial Press prevailed in a five-house auction to win world rights for a debut picture book, Santa in the City by Tiffany D. Jackson, winner of the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe Award for New Talent, and illustrated by Reggie Brown. In it, the publisher said, a curious girl named Deja sets out to prove that Santa is real and to show that magic always finds a way, even if it seems impossible to city kids. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021. Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary represented the author, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the illustrator.

Minotaur Pays Up for More Castillo

Minotaur v-p and executive editor Charles Spicer negotiated a high-six-figure world and audio rights deal for four more Kate Burkholder crime novels with Nancy Yost, who has an eponymous agency. The 12th book in the series, Outsider, will be published in July, and the deal ensures that Minotaur will continue with Castillo up to and including the 16th installment. Spicer said Burkholder creator Linda Castillo, whose Shamed is shortlisted for the 2020 Sue Grafton Memorial Award, is “an editor’s dream of the perfect author and a major Minotaur success story,” adding, “We are proud and honored to be her publisher.”

Harper Goes to the Moon for Debut

Naomi Davis at Bookends Literary Agency brokered a six-figure, two-book world rights deal with David Pomerico at Harper Voyager for Sue Lynn Tan’s #OwnVoices debut adult fantasy, Daughter of the Moon Goddess, slated for early 2022. According to the publisher, the novel is inspired by the famous Chinese legend of the Moon Goddess, in which a young woman, who is forced to flee her cherished home on the moon when she is hunted by the Celestial Emperor for her mother’s crime, seizes the opportunity to become a powerful warrior.

Bloomsbury Grabs ‘A Previous Life’

Liese Mayer, editorial director of fiction at Bloomsbury, picked up A Previous Life by Edmund White, winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. The publisher called it “a delightful, irreverent novel about a married couple, who, while reading each other’s memoirs, recall their relationships with men and women, older and younger, over the course of their lifetimes.” Bill Clegg at the Clegg Agency sold world English rights for the novel, which is due in winter 2023.

Rowley’s Newest Goes to Putnam

The Guncle, a new novel from Steven Rowley, author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor (both of which have been optioned for film adaptation), went to Putnam’s editorial director Sally Kim, who also published the latter. According to Putnam, The Guncle is “a poignant and joyous story of a reclusive television star who takes his young niece and nephew into his Palm Springs home after a family tragedy, and how his outsize lifestyle and unusual life wisdom bring about a season of healing that redefines their understanding of family and finally leads him back to himself.” Rob Weisbach at Rob Weisbach Creative Management brokered the deal for North American rights.

Dutton Goes for a Third from Weisman

Carrying the nonfiction banner this week is Alan Weisman, whose Hope Dies Last went to Dutton. The publisher described it as “a globally reported look at the drastically changing physical world, humanity’s realistic hopes in the coming challenging decades, and the visionary people around the world who are determined to try and get us through, despite daunting odds.” John Parsley, v-p, editor-in-chief of Dutton, who edited two of Weisman’s previous books—The World Without Us and Countdown—took world rights from Nick Ellison of his eponymous agency.