DEAL OF THE WEEK
Jeffers Re-ups at Harper
In a high-six-figure, deal, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers sold an essay collection and a short story collection to Erin Wicks at Harper. Jeffers, whose August debut novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois (also published by Harper), is a bestseller and recent Oprah Book Club pick, was represented in the agreement by Sarah Burnes at the Gernert Company. Harper said the essay collection, Misbehaving at the Crossroads, examines “the intersection of feminism and Blackness in America since 1619” and is “infused with history, criticism, and stories from the author’s own life.” The story collection, A Simple, Promised Land, is about “the daily lives and dramas” of a collection of characters from the fictional town of Chicasetta, Ga., which is also the setting of Love Songs. The essay collection will publish first and is set for winter 2024.
SMP Nabs Kapelke-Dale’s ‘Prodigy’
For six figures, Sarah Cantin at St. Martin’s Press bought world rights to The Prodigy by Rachel Kapelke-Dale. The publisher said the book, which centers on a pianist prodigy returning home in the wake of her mother’s sudden death, was “pitched as My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit.” The heroine “discovers that a mysterious acquaintance has inherited [her] family estate... forcing her to confront her past, and the dark secret of her adolescent relationship with an older man.” Kapelke-Dale was represented by Sarah Phair at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. The Prodigy is set for December 2022.
Scotch Hits ‘Rewind’ for Berkley
At auction, Kerry Donovan at Berkley won North American rights to Allison Winn Scotch’s The Rewind in a two-book deal. The romantic comedy was acquired from Elisabeth Weed at the Book Group. Berkley said The Rewind, set for November 2022, follows “two college exes who wake up in bed together on their old campus on the eve of the millennium and have no memory of the night before.” The pair must then “put aside old grievances to figure out what happened, what didn’t happen, and to ask themselves the most troubling question of all: What if they both got it wrong the first time around?”
Burr’s Debut Goes to Morrow
Australian author Shelley Burr sold U.S. rights to her debut crime novel, Wake, in a two-book, six-figure deal with William Morrow. Rachel Kahan at Morrow preempted the book from Sarah Brooks at Hachette Australia. Morrow said Wake, set for summer 2022, centers on a cold case involving a nine-year-old girl who disappeared from her rural Australian town, and a PI with “darker motivations” who investigates nearly 20 years later. The second book under contract is inspired by an infamous series of killings in Australia during the 1990s known as the Snowtown murders.
Oates’s ‘Flaw’ Picked Up by Random House
For Random House, Andrea Walker preempted North American rights to a debut work of psychological suspense by Nathan Oates. The publisher compared A Flaw in the Design to the works of Patricia Highsmith and Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny; it follows a professor living in a small Vermont town who takes in his “charming” and “wildly dangerous” nephew after the boy’s parents die in a “mysterious car accident.” Anna Stein at ICM Partners represented Oates, whose story collection The Empty House won the 2012 Spokane Prize.
Loftus Dogs It to Forge
Jamie Loftus sold world rights to a currently untitled book to Ali Fisher at Forge, which described it as a “complete taxonomy of the hot dog.” Loftus writes for the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and created several podcasts, including My Year in Mensa and Aack Cast. She was represented by Meredith Miller at United Talent Agency. The book, Forge added, is “an amateur-to-expert journey through the history, influence, and cultural impact of a great American culinary icon.” It’s set for release in April 2023.