DEAL OF THE WEEK
Ballantine Puts Grey in a Corner
Actor Jennifer Grey sold a currently untitled memoir to Pamela Cannon at Ballantine. The world rights agreement was brokered by Brandi Bowles and Pilar Queen at the United Talent Agency. Ballantine said the book will explore “Grey’s lifelong journey, like many women, to love and accept herself while existing in a culture that often imposes a narrow and unforgiving definition of beauty and a woman’s worth.” Grey is best known for her starring role in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, and the memoir touches on the highs and lows of her career, as well as her achievements in her personal life. Ballantine called it an “ongoing coming-of-age story for women of every age.”
FROM THE U.S.
Clinton and Penny Sell ‘Terror’
Hillary Rodham Clinton is following her husband’s lead into the world of thrillers, having inked an agreement to cowrite State of Terror with Louise Penny. (Bill Clinton is preparing to release his second thriller with James Patterson, following the duo’s 2018 bestseller, The President Is Missing.) State of Terror will be copublished by Simon & Schuster (Clinton’s publisher) and St. Martin’s Press (Penny’s house), with a laydown set for October 12. The book, S&S said, marks a “unique collaboration by two longtime friends and thriller aficionados”; it follows a new secretary of state who must create a team to unravel a conspiracy that is “carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.” The houses brokered the world rights deal with Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly (representing Clinton) and David Gernert at the Gernert Company (representing Penny). Jennifer Enderlin at St. Martin’s will be the book’s editor.
McCain Gets ‘Stronger’ at Forum
For Random House’s Forum imprint, Mary Reynics bought world rights to Cindy McCain’s Stronger, in a deal brokered by Byrd Leavell at United Talent Agency. The book, McCain’s first, is subtitled Courage, Hope, and Humor in My Life Without John McCain. Forum said Stronger is an “intimate memoir,” detailing the author’s 38-year marriage to Arizona senator John McCain (who died in 2018) and “the trials and triumphs of her singular American life.” Stronger is slated for release on April 27.
Cusk’s New Novel Goes to FSG
Rachel Cusk sold a new novel, titled Second Place, to Mitzi Angel at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency brokered the North American rights deal. In the book, FSG said, a woman who invites a famous painter to use the guest house in her coastal home comes to believe “his vision might penetrate the mystery at the center of her life.” The novel “is a study of female fate and male privilege, the geometries of human relationships, and the moral questions that animate our lives.” Picador (an imprint of FSG parent company Macmillan) will also reissue eight of Cusk’s backlist titles, all featuring new covers, with the first (A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother) timed to the publication of Second Place on May 4.
Theise Gets ‘Complex’ at S&G
For Spiegel & Grau, Samuel Nicholson bought world rights to Neil Theise’s Notes on Complexity in his first acquisition at the newly established publisher. Theise, a professor of pathology at New York University, was represented by Trident Media Group’s Amanda Annis. The agent said the nonfiction title is a “brief introduction to complexity theory,” which is “the study of how complex systems behave in the world.” Notes on Complexity explores “the boundaries of science, philosophy, and even spirituality.”
Weintraub Heads to Nebraska
Courtney Ochsner at the University of Nebraska Press took world English rights to Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir by journalist Aileen Weintraub, in a deal brokered by Susan Cohen at Writers House. Cohen said the book follows the author’s journey as she moves from Brooklyn to the country, gets married, gets pregnant, and faces the prospect of bed rest in a rickety farmhouse. The agent added that book is a “laugh-out-loud, emotionally charged story of one woman’s unexpected path to authenticity.”
Cousens Sells Latest to Putnam
Putnam’s Sally Kim bought North American rights to Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens from Amelia Evans at Penguin Random House UK. Putnam said the novel, which follows the author’s bestselling debut (and Good Morning America Book Club pick), This Time Next Year, is “the story of a hopeless romantic who picks up the wrong suitcase on a work trip to the island of Jersey and falls head over heels for the owner, sight unseen.” Just Haven’t Met You Yet, which will be edited by Putnam senior editor Kate Dresser, is slated for fall 2021.
Khalid Takes His ‘Brother’ to Grove
At Grove Atlantic, Peter Blackstock preempted North American rights to Zain Khalid’s Brother. The author was represented by Kent Wolf at Neon Literary. Grove said the debut novel is about “exploring Muslim American identity, sexuality, and capitalist systems of control.” It follows three brothers, all adopted, who live above a Staten Island mosque with their father, “an imam with secrets from his time in Saudi Arabia, including the truth about the strange creature that haunts one of the brothers.”