Gurnah’s ‘Afterlives’ Endure at Riverhead

Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, sold U.S. rights to his newest novel Afterlives to Rebecca Saletan at Riverhead. The publisher said Afterlives is set in East Africa and follows three characters swept up in the “brutal colonization” of the region in the early to mid-20th century. It called the novel a “sweeping, multigenerational saga of displacement, loss, and love.” The England-based and Zanzibar-born author was represented by Peter Straus at RCW Literary. Also included in the deal are two backlist titles, By the Sea and Desertion. Afterlives is set for August 2022.

S&S Goes on Mann’s ‘Mission’

After a 10-publisher auction, The Last Mission by retired Special Forces Lt. Col. Scott Mann and ABC News investigative reporter James Gordon Meek sold to Robert Messenger at Simon & Schuster. Howard Yoon at the Ross Yoon Agency handled the North American rights agreement. The book follows, S&S said, a group of experts and civilians led by Mann who over-
saw an operation, dubbed the Pineapple Express, that smuggled roughly 600 Afghans out of their country, pulling them from Kabul’s “Taliban-encircled airport in the final days of America’s longest war.”

Grand Central Buys RH Staffer’s Debut

Karen Kosztolnyik at Grand Central acquired North American rights to The Carnivale of Curiosities by Amiee Gibbs. The Victorian-set speculative debut was sold by Julie Barer at the Book Group. The publisher said it follows a traveling circus run by a magician with the power to make dreams come true. The magician is “drawn into an insidious contract” by a wealthy Londoner. Grand Central described the novel as “in the vein of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, and The Night Circus by way of Bleak House.” Gibbs is a sales manager at Penguin Random House who works with independent bookstores. The Carnivale of Curiosities is set for summer 2023.

Knopf Cradles Blair’s ‘Baby’

Selma Blair sold Mean Baby to Knopf. In the memoir, the Cruel Intentions actor and model describes her career, her struggles with drugs, and her life with multiple sclerosis. Reagan Arthur bought North American rights from Brettne Bloom at the Book Group, and Jennifer Jackson will edit. Subtitled A Memoir of Growing Up, the book, Knopf said, delves into Blair’s “adolescence of love and pain, her destructive ways of coping with an illness she did not know she had, her struggles and successes in Hollywood, and her battle with depression as a young mother.” Mean Baby is slated for April 2022.

Bourland Does Double at Dutton

Lindsey Rose at Dutton bought world rights to two books by Edgar Award finalist Barbara Bourland. The Force of Such Beauty, set for July 2022, follows a princess who “begins to reevaluate her life after a failed attempt to escape” from her kingdom, Dutton said, and explores how power structures “rest on the subjugation of women’s bodies.” Fields and Waves, set for 2024, follows a woman who can hear other people’s thoughts and is sent on “a remarkable journey into the peculiar and fascinating world of electromagnetism and neuroscience.” Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates represented Bourland in the deal.

R&L Wins Kliegman’s ‘Game’

World rights to Mind Game by Julie Kliegman were acquired by Christen Karniski at Rowman & Littlefield. Kliegman is the copy chief at Sports Illustrated and was represented by Iris Blasi at the Carol Mann Agency. Subtitled An Inside Look at the Mental Health Playbook of Elite Athletes, the book examines, Blasi said, “how elite athletes ranging from Simone Biles to LeBron James have struggled with and persevered through mental illness and other mental health issues.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the title of Barbara Bourland's forthcoming novel; it's The Force of Such Beauty, not The Force of Beauty.