DEAL OF THE WEEK
Berry Moves to GCP
In what is rumored to be a seven-figure deal, Grand Central Publishing’s Ben Sevier and Wes Miller signed bestseller Steve Berry, who is leaving his current publisher, Minotaur Books. Berry was represented by Simon Lipskar at Writers House in the North American rights agreement, which includes three thrillers written under his own name and three coauthored with Grant Blackwood. The first book is a standalone international suspense thriller set for summer 2022 featuring, GCP said, the author’s “trademark historical hook.” Berry (the Cotton Malone series) has, according to the publisher, sold more than 25 million copies of his books worldwide and is published in 40 languages.
FROM THE U.S.
Graydon Wins Two by Winstead
For six figures, Cat Clyne at Graydon House won two books by Ashley Winstead at auction. Winstead was represented in the world English rights deal by Melissa Edwards at Stonesong. Edwards said Stoner, the first book under contract, is a fun, “unabashedly feminist rom-com” about “a woman who’s thrown into a political campaign with the ex whose life she ruined.” The title also features “a juicy enemies-to-lovers arc with a savvy eco-conscious political component.”
HMH Buys Chukwu’s Debut
Millicent Bennett at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt took world rights to JK Chukwu’s debut novel, The Unfortunates, for six figures. The author, a 2019 Lambda fellow, was represented by Larissa Melo Pienkowski at Jill Grinberg Literary Management. Pienkowski said the book was pitched “in the vein of Luster, Queenie, and My Year of Rest and Relaxation.” It follows a queer, half-Nigerian undergraduate who, “enraged and exhausted by the racism, tokenism, and indifference to the Black experience at her elite college, pens a no-holds-barred thesis documenting her search for the truth about the Unfortunates, the unlucky subset of her fellow Black undergraduates who keep dying at the hands of white supremacy.” The Unfortunates is set for April 2022.
Election Book by ‘New York Times’ Journos Lands at Simon & Schuster
Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns sold a currently untitled book to Simon & Schuster about the impending presidential election. The publisher claimed that the book aims to be “the definitive assessment of the 2020 election as a turning point in American politics and the most complete account of the Trump-Biden campaign and its consequences.” Priscilla Painton at S&S took world rights from agents Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer at Javelin. The authors first collaborated at Politico covering the 2008 presidential election and are both now national political correspondents at the New York Times. The book is slated for 2022.
Norwegian Debut Is Snapped Up by Grove
Grove Atlantic’s Peter Blackstock acquired Silje O. Ulstein’s debut novel, Reptile Memoirs, in a world English rights agreement. Ulstein was represented by Annette Orre at Oslo Literary Agency. The book was recently published in Norway by Aschehoug and has, Grove said, sold in 10 territories to date. It will be translated by Alison McCullough. Reptile Memoirs is about a young woman who lives in a small Norwegian town and is “obsessed with her pet Burmese python,” and another woman “whose daughter disappears, sparking a very surprising police investigation.” The suspense novel, Grove added, is a “thoughtful exploration of trauma, small-town secrets, and animal magnetism.” Reptile Memoirs is scheduled for a 2022 release.