Follett Says ‘Never’ at Viking

In a North American rights agreement, Viking bought Ken Follett’s new novel, Never. The Follett Office sold the thriller to Brian Tart, the author’s longtime editor. Never, Tart said, is a “can’t-stop-reading” tale that features the “character-driven, deeply researched verisimilitude of Follett’s historical epics.” It’s “an action-packed globe-spanning drama set in the present day.” Follett (The Pillars of the Earth) has more than 170 million copies of his 36 books in print, according to Viking. Never is set for a November 9 publication in the U.S.


Knopf Taps into Adichie’s ‘Grief’

For Knopf, Reagan Arthur acquired Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Notes on Grief. Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency brokered the U.S. rights agreement. Knopf described the book, which is expanded from an essay Adichie published in the New Yorker, as a work of “meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of her father’s death.” In it, the author “writes about being one of the millions of people grieving this year, about the familial and cultural dimensions of grief, and also about the loneliness and anger that accompany it.” Adichie (Americanah) has won a National Book Critics Circle Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. Notes on Grief is set for May 11.

Viking Buys an Ozeki Novel

Ruth Ozeki, whose 2013 novel A Tale for the Time Being was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, sold a new novel to Paul Slovak at Viking. Molly Friedrich at the Friedrich Agency brokered the North American rights deal. The Book of Form and Emptiness is about, Viking said, “our relationship with material things.” It follows a 14-year-old boy who begins hearing voices in the wake of his father’s death. The story also involves “the boy’s vital relationship with a book that narrates his life and teaches him how to listen to what really matters.” The Book of Form and Emptiness is set for a September release.

Nix Unveils a New ‘Old Kingdom’ Entry

International bestseller Garth Nix sold the latest title in his Old Kingdom YA series to Katherine Tegen, who has an eponymous imprint at HarperCollins. The North American rights agreement was handled by Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management. Terciel & Elinor follows, Grinberg explained, “a ploy by an ancient enemy of the Abhorsen,” which “brings Terciel, the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, across the Wall to Ancelstierre—and to Elinor—who in a single day of fire and death and loss, finds herself set on a path that will take her away from her life of seclusion into the Old Kingdom.” A November release is planned.

S&G Explores Verdoni’s ‘Adolescence’

For what the publisher is calling a “significant” six-figure sum, Spiegel and Grau bought Marco Verdoni’s memoir, An American Adolescence. Trident Media Group’s Sulamita Garbuz sold the book to Aaron Robertson in a North American rights agreement. The author was locked up in a Michigan prison from ages 15 to 25, and An American Adolescence is about his time there. The book, the publisher said, “is an honest and provocative account of life behind bars that aims to shed light on the flaws in our criminal justice system,” adding that it was pitched as being similar to Orange Is the New Black and Just Mercy. Verdoni has an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.

St. Martin’s Eats Foster’s ‘Meth Lunches’

At St. Martin’s Press, Gwen Hawkes nabbed Kim Foster’s narrative nonfiction book, The Meth Lunches. Stacey Glick at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, represented the James Beard–winning food writer in the North American rights agreement. Glick said The Meth Lunches is an examination of the “intersection of food and poverty—from the lingering trauma of childhood hunger to urban grocery stores and community food pantries.” The book, subtitled Stories from the Dysfunction of Food, is “about how cooking, eating, shopping, and feeding people you love can be a symptom and solution, war and weaponry, and often a source of love and much-needed hope.” The Meth Lunches is set for fall 2022.

Tang Takes Her ‘Map’ to Penguin Press

In her first acquisition for Penguin Press, Juli Kiyan preempted North American rights to Belinda Huijuan Tang’s A Map for the Missing. Kiyan, associate director of publicity at the Penguin Random House imprint, recently took on editorial duties, adding the title of editor. Penguin said the debut novel follows a son who “returns to his family’s rural village in China to search for his estranged father who has disappeared.” Tang tackles themes of “forgiveness and the meaning of home” in a work “set against a rapidly changing post–Cultural Revolution China from the late 1970s to the ’90s.” The author, who was represented by Julie Barer at the Book Group, is currently an MFA student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Wong Memoir Goes to Vintage

Activist and consultant Alice Wong sold a memoir, Year of the Tiger, to Anna Kaufman at Vintage in a world English rights agreement. Vintage said the book is a “mosaic memoir” that charts the author’s life and work as an activist through an array of visual and prose forms, including photos, essays, artwork, and horoscopes. Wong, who founded the Disability Visibility Project (an online forum that aims to amplify the voices of those in the disabled community), also edited the anthology Disability Visibility, which Vintage published last year. She was represented by Julia Kardon at HG Literary. Year of the Tiger is slated for 2022.

Hadfield’s ‘Apollo’ Lands at Mulholland

For Mulholland Books, Helen O’Hare bought U.S. rights to Chris Hadfield’s The Apollo Murders from fellow Hachette imprint Quercus in the U.K. (Random House Canada will publish the title in Canada.) The debut novel from the Canadian former astronaut and bestselling nonfiction author is, Mulholland said, a “Cold War thriller from the dark heart of the space race.” It’s “a high-octane thriller that partners his incredible experiences as an astronaut with the kind of page-turning mystery that’s impossible to put down.” The Apollo Murders is set for October 12.