Nwabineli’s Debut Goes to Graydon

With a six-figure preempt, Graydon House’s Cat Clyne won Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli, who was born in Nigeria, raised in Scotland and England, and now lives in London and works in tech. The publisher said the debut novel follows a British Nigerian woman mourning her husband’s suicide as she tries to balance “toxic in-laws, her boisterous immigrant family, and society’s pressure to ‘move on.’ ” It was “strongly influenced by the author’s own immigrant experience” and “reads like Jojo Moyes’s After You meets Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom with a sprinkling of Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You.” Amy St. Johnston at Aitken Alexander Associates brokered the world English rights agreement. Someday, Maybe is set for winter 2023.


Payne Does Jane for Berkley

After a four-way auction, Cindy Hwang at Berkley won world rights to two novels by Nikki Payne. Both are Black contemporary reimaginings of Jane Austen novels, and the first, Pride and Protest, was pitched, the publisher said, as “Pride and Prejudice meets Black-ish.” Pride and Protest follows DJ Liza B, who, in her attempt to reclaim her Washington, D.C. neighborhood from a property developer, has her plans dashed when “she mistakes the smoldering hot CEO for the waitstaff.” The second book under contract is an update of Sense and Sensibility. Payne was represented in the deal by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary Agency. She works at Facebook as a qualitative researcher and has a PhD in cultural anthropology. Pride and Protest is set to be released in 2023.

Urrea Re-ups at LB

Luis Alberto Urrea sold world rights to two new books to Ben George at Little, Brown. Good Night, Irene, George said, is set for 2022 and was 20 years in the making. It was inspired by the author’s mother, who worked for the Red Cross during World War II as a “Donut Dollie,” going to the front lines to deliver food and moral support to soldiers. Zebras in Tijuana, George explained, follows “a young man in Tijuana who befriends a zebra, not knowing that the animal has escaped from the personal zoo of a drug lord.” Urrea, a bestseller and finalist for both a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, was represented by Julie Barer of the Book Group.

Viking Nabs Kerouac Bio

Paul Slovak at Penguin bought North American rights to Jack Kerouac: A Writer’s Life, an estate-sanctioned biography by Holly George-Warren (Janis: Her Life and Music). The publisher said the book will illuminate the writer’s “complicated and in many ways tragic life.” It will also “examine the evolution of Kerouac’s writing process and style, and face head-on the difficult aspects of his story, including how his ideas about race, sexual identity, and gender changed throughout his life.” George-Warren was represented by Laura Nolan at Aevitas Creative Management, while the Kerouac estate was represented by Jeffrey Posternak at the Wylie Agency.

Disney Backs Kagawa to Launch Duology

Kieran Viola at Disney Hyperion acquired world rights to two books composing a middle grade duology by bestseller Julie Kagawa. The books are based on the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, a fictional secret society created by Walt Disney Imagineering (Disney’s research and development arm). Fan groups have sprung up around the society, which has nods to its backstory inserted into attractions at various Disney theme parks around the world. The first book under contract, [em]Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl[/em], follows, the publisher said, 12-year-old Shinji, who “sees his life take a turn for the anything-but-ordinary when a magical guardian decides to use him as a conduit to awaken its power.” Shinji Takahashi is slated for April 2022 and was acquired from Laurie McLean at Fuse Literary.