Avid Nabs Debut for Seven Figures

In a seven-figure deal, Avid Reader Press’s Jofie Ferrari Adler took world rights, after an exclusive submission, to T.J. Newman’s debut, Falling. The two-book deal was brokered by Shane Salerno at the Story Factory. Newman is a former bookseller and flight attendant who, Salerno said, “wrote much of Falling at 35,000 feet” on red-eyes while her passengers slept. The title, Salerno explained, “deals with a terrifying event that could result in a significant loss of life.” Falling is set for summer and will be the first thriller published by Avid.


Pantheon Is ‘Sweet’ on Warrell

After a six-way auction, Lisa Lucas at Pantheon won world rights to Laura Warrell’s debut, Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm. Deborah Garrison will edit the novel, which is Lucas’s first fiction acquisition since joining the Penguin Random House imprint as publisher. Chad Luibl at Janklow & Nesbit brokered the deal. He said Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm follows “an alluring jazz musician and the diverse cast of women who, at first charmed by him and later scorned, find the power of their own voices.”

Joseph Does a Double

Frederick Joseph sold Better Than We Found It (to be coauthored with Porsche Landon) to Candlewick’s Kaylan Adair. The YA nonfiction title, a follow-up to Joseph’s bestselling debut The Black Friend, was acquired in a six-figure preempt. Alexander Slater at Trident Media Group handled the North American rights agreement and called Better Than We Found It “a universal guide for young people interested in instigating positive change and making a difference in their own communities.” In a separate, simultaneous deal, Slater sold Joseph’s adult nonfiction debut, Patriarchy Blues, to Sarah Ried at Harper Perennial in a North American rights agreement. Slater said the essay collection is a rumination on “masculinity and patriarchy.” Both titles are set for 2022.

Allen’s Photo Book Goes to Legacy Lit

For Legacy Lit, Krishan Trotman bought Devin Allen’s No Justice, No Peace from Johanna Castillo at Writers House. The book showcases Allen’s photos of recent Black Lives Matter protests, juxtaposed with images from the civil rights movement. Castillo said the book creates “a vision of the past and future of Black activism and leadership in America to show where we meet and where we differ.” No Justice, No Peace is set for winter 2022.

Babalola Spices Things Up at Morrow

In what William Morrow is calling a deal for a “significant six-figure sum,” Elle Keck bought North American rights to Bolu Babalola’s novel Honey & Spice. Morrow said the book follows “the sharp-tongued—and secretly softhearted—Kiki Banjo and her friends from the Afro-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University, and their romantic intrigues and heartbreaks.” Babalola’s Love in Color, shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2020 in the U.K., will be published in the U.S. by Morrow in April. Honey & Spice is set for summer 2022. Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann handled U.S., Canadian, and open market rights agreement.

Zgheib Makes ‘Land’ at Atria

In a six-figure world rights agreement, Daniella Wexler at Atria Books bought Yara Zgheib’s sophomore novel, No Land to Light On. Amy Tannenbaum at the Jane Rotrosen Agency brokered the deal. Atria said the book is about “borders and belonging, following a young Syrian refugee couple in the throes of new love, who dream of building a future in the country that brought them together, until a travel ban arrives like a bomb on the eve of their son’s birth.”