DEAL OF THE WEEK
Handler Memoir Lands at Dial
Penguin Random House’s Dial Press imprint has acquired world rights to a currently untitled memoir by Chelsea Handler. The book was simultaneously optioned by the production and management shingle Sugar23, which announced a joint publishing venture with PRH earlier this year. Dial said the book is “a hilarious and romantic account of Chelsea’s path from worshipping at the altar of autonomy and self-reliance to falling in love and becoming a tender, open-hearted, committed-at-all-costs girlfriend,” calling it “part rom-com, part journey of self-discovery.” Whitney Frick bought the title for Dial from Pilar Queen at United Talent Agency, while Angela Ledgerwood at Sugar23 nabbed the option from UTA’s Georgia Bodnar. The publication date has not yet been announced.
Ballantine Takes Lattimore’s ‘Free’
Ashton Lattimore sold her debut novel, The Free City, at auction to Ballantine’s Susanna Porter. Lattimore is the editor-in-chief of the BIPOC-focused news website Prism and a former lawyer; she was represented by Jamie Carr at the Book Group in the North American rights deal. The novel is set before the Civil War, and the publisher said it follows three young Black women in Philadelphia, two of whom try to help the third escape enslavement. The women “navigate friendship, identity, and dangerous secrets against a backdrop of simmering tension between abolitionists and Southern sympathizers in a city at war with itself.”
Samatar Perfects ‘Practice’ at Tordotcom
Tordotcom Publishing’s Emily Goldman took world English rights to Sofia Samatar’s The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain. Tordotcom said the starship-set novella follows “a boy raised in a prison who is granted a university scholarship, and his quest to grasp the shape of the chains—physical and mental, of the past and the present—that are both the tools of subjugation and the key to liberation.” Samatar (A Stranger in Olondria) has won various literary awards including the British Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award. She was represented in the deal by Sally Harding at CookeMcDermid. The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain is scheduled for 2024.
Former Scout Sells Book on BSA Fight
For Pegasus Books, Jessica Case bought North American rights to Mike De Socio’s Morally Straight: How the Fight for LGBTQ Inclusion Changed the Boy Scouts—and America. Pegasus said the book tells the story of the decades-long battle to end the Boy Scouts of America’s long-standing policy of banning gay scout leaders. (The organization lifted the ban in 2015.) Set for summer 2024, the book is “a tale of teenagers, parents, activists, and anonymous Americans who rejected a policy of discrimination, founded nonprofits, organized campaigns, fought through the courts, and endured countless losses before finally winning not only their policy battle in the Boy Scouts but approval in the court of American opinion.” De Socio is an independent journalist who’s written extensively about the environment and the LGBTQ community; he was also an active Boy Scout. Richard Abate at 3 Arts Entertainment represented him in the deal.
Post Hill Handles Kramer’s ‘Death’
Debra Englander at Post Hill Press bought Death of the Great Man by Peter D. Kramer in a world English rights deal. Kramer was represented by Andrew Blauner at Blauner Books, who called the title “part comic mystery, part political satire, and part case vignette.” In it, “a psychiatrist reviews his involvement with a narcissistic national leader who has turned up dead on the consulting room couch.” Kramer, a psychiatrist, is arguably best known for his 1993 nonfiction bestseller Listening to Prozac; Death of the Great Man is his second novel, and his first in 20 years. It’s slated for 2023.
Correction: An earlier version of this article called Sofia Samatar's The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain a novel; it's a novella. Additionally we had stated she won the Calvino Prize, when she was a finalist for the honor.