DEAL OF THE WEEK
Ballantine Grants Cheeks ‘Forgiveness’
For six figures at auction, Ballantine’s Chelcee Johns bought Maura Cheeks’s Forgiveness. The novel is inspired by a 2019 article Cheeks wrote for the Atlantic exploring the racial wealth gap in America through the experience of her African American family. Forgiveness, Ballantine said, is “set in a slightly speculative time in which our government finally approves reparation payments to African Americans”—on the condition that they can prove they are descended from enslaved peoples. It focuses on four generations of a Black family from Philadelphia as they “try to prove their lineage, and in doing so discover more than they bargained for.” Stephanie Delman at Trellis Literary Management represented Cheeks in the world rights agreement.
Williams Does Double
North American rights to two titles by Tia Williams (Seven Days in June) were acquired in a joint deal between Grand Central Publishing and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The first, bought by Seema Mahanian at GCP, is an untitled adult novel set in New York City and slated for summer 2023. The publisher said it follows two lovers who “find each other, and themselves, despite the effects of a decades-spanning mystery with roots in the glamorous, jazz-crazed days—and nights—of the Harlem Renaissance.” The second book, an untitled YA novel bought by Farrin Jacobs at LBYR and slated for 2024, is “about a fearlessly overachieving 15-year-old girl navigating the wilds of her elite Brooklyn private school while discovering the shocking truth about her mother’s past.” Williams was represented by Cherise Fisher at Wendy Sherman Associates.
Hanover Takes Devantez’s ‘I Love You’
Comedian and podcaster Chelsea Devantez sold I Love You, Please Forgive Me, F*ck You to Grace Towery at Hanover Square Press in a world English rights preempt. Byrd Leavell at United Talent Agency brokered the deal. Devantez is the head writer on the new Jon Stewart show The Problem with Jon Stewart, and the book, Hanover Square said, is an essay collection “structured around each of the women who have shaped Devantez’s upbringing and career, from family members to celebrities to strangers.” I Love You, Please Forgive Me, F*ck You is set for fall 2023.
Putnam Plans Three New Parker Books
In a world rights deal endorsed by the Robert B. Parker estate, Ivan Held and Danielle Dietrich at G.P. Putnam’s Sons bought two books by Mike Lupica and one by Alison Gaylin for three of Parker’s series. Parker died in 2010, and the books Lupica is penning will be new installments in the Spenser series and the Jesse Stone series. Lupica is a sportswriter and was friends with Parker; he’ll be taking over the Spenser series from Ace Atkins, whose final Parker title will publish in January 2022. Gaylin (The Collective) will write a new installment in Parker’s Sunny Randall series; in doing so, she will become the first woman to take over a Parker series. Lupica was represented in the deal by Esther Newberg at ICM Partners, and Gaylin was represented by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider (which is part of ICM Partners).
Butcher to Launch New Series at Ace
For Ace Books, Anne Sowards took world rights to James J. Butcher’s Dead Man’s Hand in a three-book deal. The novel is set to launch a new urban fantasy series, the Unorthodox Chronicles, which follows a witch named Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby. In Dead Man’s Hand, Ace said, Griswald is “on the run” and will need to “throw out the magical rule book” to “solve the murder of his mentor.” Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Literary Agency brokered the deal. Dead Man’s Hand is slated for fall 2022.