Riverhead Enters Vardiashvili’s ‘Forest’

Riverhead’s Sarah McGrath bought North American rights to Leo Vardiashvili’s debut novel in an overnight preempt. The publisher said Hard by a Great Forest is about a Georgian father and son seeking asylum in Europe following the 2008 occupation of South Ossetia by Russia. Later they “must return to their decaying but still beautiful homeland to rescue each other and make peace with the past.” The author, a refugee from Georgia who has been living in London since he was 13, was represented by Sara O’Keefe at the London office of Aevitas Creative Management. At press time, the novel had sold in preempts in Brazil, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and the U.K.

Nguyen’s ‘Sunshine’ Graces Atria

For six figures, Loan Le at Atria Books, along with Sarah St. Pierre at S&S Canada, preempted world rights to Mai Nguyen’s debut novel Sunshine Nails. Nguyen, a National Magazine Award–nominated journalist, follows a Vietnamese family living in a gentrifying Toronto neighborhood who, Atria said, see their “no-frills nail salon threatened by the arrival of a new ‘Starbucks of nails’ salon.” As they “devise a series of ill-conceived plans, they risk losing not only their business but also the family ties keeping them together.” Carly Watters at P.S. Literary represented Nguyen, and the book is slated for summer 2023.

Fang Sells Three to Tundra

Tara Walker at Tundra Books bought three picture books at auction by debut author-illustrator X. Fang. Fang, a visual artist in Philadelphia, was represented by Erica Rand Silverman at Stimola Literary Studio in the mid-six-figure North American rights deal. The first book under contract, Dim Sum Palace, is set for fall 2023 and explores, Silverman said, “a small girl’s excitement about a dim sum meal, which spills over into her dreams.” Broken, slated for fall 2024, is about “a child who breaks her grandmother’s teacup and discovers the beauty of broken things.” We Are Definitely Human, scheduled for summer 2025, follows “three strangers to a small town who are definitely human, despite all evidence to the contrary.”

Tor Takes a New Abercrombie Trilogy

Joe Abercrombie (the First Law Trilogy) sold a new trilogy, The Devils, to Tor. Lindsey Hall took U.S. rights at auction to the epic fantasy, slated for 2025, from Ginger Clark at Ginger Clark Literary, on behalf of Robert Kirby at United Agents in the U.K. The publisher said the trilogy is set in “a magic-riddled Europe under constant threat of elf invasion” and follows the congregation of an underground church that performs unsavory tasks for the pope. The congregants include “a self-serving magician, a self-satisfied vampire, an oversexed werewolf, and a knight cursed with immortality.”

Floyd’s ‘Dream’ Unfolds at Little, Brown

Jami Floyd, an ABC legal analyst and founder of New York Public Radio’s Race and Justice Unit, sold Dream Interrupted: Searching for Thurgood Marshall and the Struggle to Save the Soul of a Nation to Little, Brown. Pronoy Sarkar preempted North American rights from Laura Dail at Laura Dail Literary Agency. The book, Dail said, explores how the Supreme Court’s first Black justice “inspired the author’s own life, as well as generations of Americans who continue to grapple with, embody, or complicate, his legacy, while illuminating the struggle for justice that continues to this day.”

Hogarth Nabs a New Arudpragasam

Parisa Ebrahimi at Hogarth bought North American rights to a currently untitled novel by Booker finalist Anuk Arudpragasam. ICM’s Anna Stein brokered the deal. Hogarth said the book follows “an intense friendship between two young people who fled war in Sri Lanka as children... and meet for the first time as adults in New York.”