DEAL OF THE WEEK
Ecco Captures Van Pelt’s ‘Creatures’
In a high-six-figure deal, Ecco’s Helen Atsma won North American rights at auction to Shelby Van Pelt’s Remarkably Bright Creatures. Kristin Nelson, who has an eponymous shingle, sold the debut novel, which she said is “for fans of My Octopus Teacher and Kevin Wilson.” Slated for spring 2022, Remarkably Bright Creatures follows a widow who befriends an aquarium-dwelling octopus. “When a grifter comes to town,” Nelson added, “the three unlock a truth tied to her son’s disappearance 30 years ago.” The novel has also sold in a number of international deals, including in six-figure acquisitions in the U.K. and Germany.
FROM THE U.S.
Penn to Pen Memoir
At Gallery Books, Aimee Bell took world rights to Kal Penn’s You Can’t Be Serious. The memoir, which was sold by Robert B. Barnett at Williams & Connolly, is set for November. Gallery said it’s “a series of candid, ridiculous, funny, consequential, and awkward stories from Penn’s surprising life.” The author rose to fame with his starring role in the 2004 film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. He then became a staffer in the Obama White House. The book, Gallery noted, is “about growing up as a skinny kid with a funny name and later helping another skinny kid with a funny name become president of the United States.”
Shriver’s Imprint Explores Volf’s ‘Life’
For The Open Field, Maria Shriver’s new imprint at Penguin Random House, Meg Leder bought world rights at auction to Miroslav Volf’s A Life Worth Living. Volf, director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, is writing the book with Matthew Croasmun and Ryan McAnnally-Linz. PRH said A Life Worth Living is based on one of Volf’s courses and is a guide that draws on the lives of notable figures “to answer the questions more and more people are asking themselves as they go about day-to-day routines: What kind of life would be truly worth wanting? How should we live?” Alice Martell at the Martell Agency negotiated the deal.
Bird-Wilson Lands at Hogarth
Lisa Bird-Wilson, a Métis writer, sold her debut novel to David Ebershoff at Hogarth. Probably Ruby, Hogarth said, follows “a Métis woman adopted by white parents as an infant now in search of her identity.” Denise Bukowski at the Bukowski Literary Agency represented the author, who is the director of the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies in Saskatchewan.
Atria Nabs Debut
Atria’s Loan Le preempted Carolyn Huynh’s debut novel The Fortunes of Jaded Women. Le said the book is about “a family of estranged Vietnamese mothers and daughters who grapple with a psychic’s prediction—that the family will, all in one year, experience a death, a marriage, and a pregnancy.” Stephanie Kim at New Leaf Literary & Media handled the world English rights deal.
Cooper Signs for Seven
Author, professor, and activist Brittney Cooper (Eloquent Rage) inked a world rights deal with Scholastic’s Liza Baker, David Levithan, and Maya Marlette at auction for three picture books and a four-title middle grade series. Scholastic president and publisher Ellie Berger called Cooper “a preeminent voice in today’s discussions of race, feminism, equity, and inclusion.” The first picture book, Stand Up: 10 Mighty Women Who Made a Change!, is set for March 2022. Scholastic said the series, titled the Bees, will launch in late 2022 and “celebrates Black girls and their friendships.” Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary represented Cooper; Baker acquired the picture books and Levithan and Marlette bought the MG series.