DEAL OF THE WEEK
Random House Takes on Cox’s Memoir
Ana Marie Cox, a columnist for The Cut’s “Sober Questioning,” sold Just Like Your Mother at auction. Random House’s Ben Greenberg acquired North American rights to the memoir, in which the author grapples with her alcoholism while delving into her difficult relationship with her late mother, who was also an alcoholic. Describing the book as “Mary Karr meets David Carr,” RH said that in it, Cox researches “the science of family trauma [and] addiction” while trying to uncover “what made her and her mother so much alike, and what it feels like to have achieved, personally and professionally, what her mother never could.” Gary Morris at the David Black Literary Agency represented Cox.
Scribner Eats Lyon’s ‘Fruit’
Scribner’s Kara Watson took North American rights to Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon, a Center for Fiction First Novel Prize finalist for her 2018 debut Self-Portrait with Boy (also published by Scribner). Fruit of the Dead is a contemporary reimagining of the Persephone myth that follows a teenage girl who, Scribner said, enjoys a “dangerously seductive summer on a pharmaceutical CEO’s private island.” The novel explores “power in a modern underworld” while offering “an unforgettable portrait of a mother-daughter relationship on the edge.” Fruit of the Dead is set for release in 2024 and was sold by Meredith Kaffel Simonoff at the Gernert Company.
Hemphill’s ‘Becoming’ Goes to RH
In another acquisition by Ben Greenberg (acquiring with Jamia Wilson), Random House bought North American rights to Prentis Hemphill’s Becoming the People for Our Time. Hemphill, who was represented by Zoë Pagnamenta at the Zoë Pagnamenta Agency, is a therapist and host of the podcast Finding Our Way, as well as the founder of the Embodiment Institute, which, among other things, houses the Black Embodiment Initiative. (The BEI bills itself as “a unique space for Black people to explore what is possible in our lives and relationships when we are more embodied.”) Random House said that the book, subtitled How Healing Ourselves Can Transform the World, provides lessons on how to bring about meaningful social change. At press time, Becoming the People for Our Time did not have a planned publication date.
Bloomsbury Gets ‘Psyched’ for Goldhill
For Bloomsbury, Ben Hyman bought North American rights to Olivia Goldhill’s Psyched, a nonfiction work about the psychedelic medicine market. Goldhill, who was represented in the deal by William Callahan at InkWell Management, is an investigative journalist at STAT (which reports on health and medicine and is produced by Boston Globe Media). Psyched, Bloomsbury said, explores the multiple players jockeying to control this multibillion-dollar industry, as well as “how these emerging therapies call into question the very foundations of the mental health industry.” Psyched is scheduled for late fall 2024 or early 2025.
Europa Nabs O’Connor Trilogy
Europa’s Michael Reynolds acquired Joseph O’Connor’s Escape Line trilogy, in a North American rights deal brokered by Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. O’Connor is a bestselling Irish novelist—Europa said his 2003 title Star of the Sea sold more than one million copies and was published in 38 languages—and the winner of 2012’s Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature. The trilogy is set in Rome during the final years of WWII and follows Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a real-life Irish priest who worked in the Vatican and, along with various accomplices, smuggled Jews and Allied prisoners out of Italy. The first novel in the series, My Father’s House, is a “thrilling story of love, faith, sacrifice, and courage,” Europa said. My Father’s House is set for January 2023.
Correction: An earlier version of this article neglected to mention that Jamia Wilson acquired Prentis Hemphill's book with Ben Greenberg.