DEAL OF THE WEEK
Ballantine Won’t ‘Forget’ Alcindor
Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, sold a memoir titled Don’t Forget to Ballantine. Sara Weiss won North American rights to the book, at auction, from the Gernert Company’s Alia Hanna Habib. Don’t Forget, Ballantine said, will detail how the author got into TV journalism. (In addition to her role at PBS NewsHour, she is also a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC.) In particular, Ballantine continued, the book will show “how the precise path Alcindor took—as the child of Haitian immigrants and as a journalism prodigy covering Black Lives Matter and civil rights abuses—informs her point of view while reporting on one of the most chaotic administrations in modern times.”
FROM THE U.S.
Ecco Goes to the Birds for Oshetsky
In a six-figure sale, Alexa Stark at Trident Media Group sold Claire Oshetsky’s Chouette to Ecco. Sara Birmingham nabbed North American rights to the novel at auction. Stark said the “wildly original” work follows a woman who “unexpectedly gives birth to an owl”; she added that the book explores “ambition, sacrifice, perceptions of ability, and the ferocity of motherly love,” likening it to works by Jenny Offill and Han Kang.
Faber Gets a ‘D’ at Hanover
International bestseller Michel Faber sold his latest novel, D (A Tale of Two Worlds), to Hanover Square Press. The book, set for December 2020, was bought from Penguin Random House UK in a North American rights agreement. Hanover Square’s Peter Joseph brokered the deal with Sarah Scarlett at PRH UK. In the novel, Faber (The Crimson Petal and the White), who was born in the Netherlands and now lives in the U.K., delivers a “modern-day Dickensian fable,” Hanover Square said. D, the publisher explained, follows a young woman named Dhikilo who “notices that the letter ‘D’ has suddenly disappeared from the language.” The heroine then “sets off on a quest to reclaim the missing letter, venturing from England into the wintry land of Liminus, a fantasy world enslaved by the monstrous Gamp—and populated by fearsome, enchanting creatures.” D’s release commemorates the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s death.
Suggs’s ‘Mija’ Travels to LBYR
Through an exclusive submission, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ Liz Kossnar bought Christine Suggs’s YA graphic memoir, Ay Mija!: My Bilingual Summer in Mexico, for six figures. The two-book, world rights deal—which includes a second, untitled graphic memoir—was brokered by Melissa Edwards and Alyssa Jennette at Stonesong. Suggs is the author-illustrator of Ay Mija!, which the agency said follows Suggs “as she spends two weeks with her family in Mexico, experiencing her history and finding her voice.” The book is set for 2023.
Winfrey Gets ‘Sincere’ with Berkley
Kerry Winfrey (Waiting for Tom Hanks) sold a new novel, Very Sincerely Yours, in a two-book deal to Berkley. Stephen Barbara at InkWell Management represented the author. Cindy Hwang nabbed world rights to the book, which, Barbara said, was inspired, like the author’s previous works, “by her love of rom-coms and a specific kind of chemistry-building.” In Very Sincerely Yours, a woman recovering from a broken heart, Barbara went on, “vows to improve her life by doing one thing every day that scares her.” Winfrey is behind the Tumblr A Year of Romantic Comedies, in which she chronicled watching 52 movies in the genre over the course of a year. Very Sincerely Yours is slated for 2021.
B’bury Title Explores Unsolved Murder
For Bloomsbury, Daniel Loedel preempted Rachel Rear’s nonfiction Chained to the Sky. The book, which Dan Conaway at Writers House sold, spans more than 20 years and chronicles the aftermath of the unsolved murder of the author’s stepsister. Bloomsbury said that Rear delivers “a fabulously compulsive and moving reconstruction of the dark and serpentine path... of the long-unsolved murder of her stepsister” that “simultaneously explores the personal impact of living in her shadow and the wider legacies of abuse and corruption.” Loedel took North American rights in the deal.
Hendrix Sells ‘Final Girl’
After an auction, Jessica Wade at Berkley won two new horror novels by bestseller Grady Hendrix (The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires). The deal, for U.S., Canadian, and open market rights, was brokered by Joshua Bilmes at JABberwocky. The first book under contract, The Final Girl Support Group, is, Berkley said, an “homage to slasher films” and follows six girls who belong to a survivors support group that has been meeting for nearly two decades. The girls, the publisher elaborated, “managed to survive the unthinkable—and now someone is coming for them.” Final Girl is set for June 2021. The second book in the deal, a currently untitled standalone novel, is slated for 2022.
Roe Teaches ‘Etiquette’ to HC
Dark Room Etiquette by Robin Roe (A List of Cages) was bought by Kristin Pettit at HarperCollins. Peter Steinberg at Foundry Literary + Media represented Roe in the North American rights agreement. Steinberg explained that the YA novel follows a 16-year-old named Sayers Wayte, who’s “rich, popular, and more than a little arrogant.” When Sayers is abducted, all that changes. Steinberg elaborated: “As Sayers starts losing track of time, he starts losing track of himself, too, and his big bright world of privilege shrinks to a single dark room.” Dark Room Etiquette is set for May 2022.
Lit Startup Founder Sells Debut to FSG
Andrew Lipstein, who founded the literary startup 0s&1s, sold his debut novel to Jonathan Galassi at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Plotting, which Lipstein sold without a literary agent, is set in the world of New York publishing and, he said, follows an up-and-coming writer who's made grand promises by an agent. “When the author’s novel is found out to be too close to reality—and not his story to tell—the author is forced to make a Faustian bargain,” Lipstein explained. 0s&1s (0s-1s.com) is a retail site that sells a selection of small press titles direct to consumers. The site, which also sells magazines, says its aim is to “distribute digital literature that is truly independent, pro-author, green, and, above all, ambitious.”
Correction: This article has been updated, as an earlier version misstated elements of the plot of Andrew Lipsten's novel Plotting.