DEAL OF THE WEEK
Former Assistant Ed Snags Seven Figures for Debut
Zakiya Dalila Harris, a former Knopf assistant editor, sold her debut novel to Atria in a seven-figure deal. Lindsay Sagnette won North American rights to The Other Black Girl, after a 14-bidder auction, from Sanford Greenburger’s Stephanie Delman. The novel, about a young black assistant at a publishing house who becomes excited and then unmoored by the rare hire of another young black woman, is a cheeky, occasionally searing send-up of the publishing industry, with nods to speculative fiction and horror. Delman said she pitched the novel as “Get Out meets Younger.” At press time, the novel had been preempted in Brazil and France, with a U.K. auction underway. The Other Black Girl is also out for film/television, with United Talent Agency handling those rights. Harris, who is 27 and quit her job at Knopf about a year ago to write the novel, has an MFA in nonfiction from the New School.
FROM THE U.S.
Hoover Does Double at Montlake
Bestselling author Colleen Hoover inked a new, two-book deal with her current publisher, Montlake, for six figures. Jane Dystel at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret handled the world English rights agreement for the author, whose last novel, 2019’s Regretting You, was a Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestseller and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Anh Schluep at Amazon acquired the currently untitled books, which are slated for 2021 and 2022.
Levin’s Cult Memoir to Duggan
One of the subjects of a 2019 New York magazine cover story, Daniel Barban Levin, sold a currently untitled memoir to Tim Duggan at auction. Levin was among those profiled in the magazine’s “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence” story, about a group of students at the college who fell under the sway of the ex-con father of one of their classmates, Lawrence Ray, and wound up in a cult. The book will be published by Duggan’s eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House, and was acquired with Will Wolfslau. Chris Clemans at Janklow & Nesbit handled the world rights deal.
Ecco Joins So’s ‘Afterparties’
After an eight-house auction, Helen Atsma at Ecco won North American rights to two bookz—Afterparties and Straight Thru Cambotown—by Anthony Veasna So for mid-six figures. Rob McQuilkin at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents represented the author, who is a New Yorker contributor. Afterparties, the agency explained, a collection of linked stories that follows “young Cambodian-Americans grappling with race, sexuality, and their inherited traumas from the Khmer Rouge genocide, even as they carve out lives in the California Central Valley and Bay Area.” Straight Thru Cambotown is, the agency went on, “a sprawling, seriocomic novel about three Cambodian-American cousins who inherit their late aunt’s illegitimate loan shark business and then become embroiled in a Hollywood conspiracy.” Afterparties is scheduled for summer 2021.
McManus Re-ups at Delacorte
Karen M. McManus, author of the bestseller One of Us Is Lying (Delacorte, 2017), sold North American rights to You’ll Be the Death of Me to Delacorte Press. Krista Marino took North American rights to the YA novel from Rosemary Stimola and Allison Remcheck at Stimola Literary Studio. The publisher said the book was “pitched as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets a murder mystery” and features the alternating perspectives of “three friends who skip school and witness a crime they can only solve by facing what they’ve been hiding from one another—and themselves.” Included in the deal is a second, currently untitled, YA novel. Death is scheduled for fall 2021, and the second book is set for fall 2022.
Stanford Student Sells ‘Clues’ to Quill
The middle grade debut by 20-year-old Christina Li, Clues to the Universe, was acquired in a North American rights deal by Alexandra Cooper at HarperCollins’s Quill Tree imprint. Li, an undergrad at Stanford, was represented by Jessica Regel at Foundry Literary + Media. Regel said the novel is about a “budding rocket scientist” named Ro who becomes friends with an introverted artist, Benji; the two then “set out to build a rocket and search for Benji’s long-lost father using clues in his bestselling space comics.” Regel added that the book, which is told in alternating perspectives, “is about finding your place in the world and the lengths one will go to get the people they love back.” The novel is slated for winter 2021.
Middle Grade Graphic Novel Goes to First Second
For First Second Books, Kiara Valdez preempted Tiffany’s Griffon, a middle grade graphic novel by Magnolia Porter Siddell and Maddi Gonzalez. The book, set for 2022, is, the publisher said, “about a girl whose favorite fantasy book series comes to life, leading her to lie about her identity in order to steal the destiny of the Chosen One from a popular girl in her grade.” Susan Graham at Einstein Literary Management represented the authors, selling world rights in the agreement.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Anthony Veasna So's Afterparties is a collection of linked stories, not a novel.