Penguin Goes to Stark’s ‘California’

In a North American rights agreement, Rachel Stark sold her debut novel to Penguin Press. John Burnham Schwartz bought Perris, California from Susanna Lea Associates agent Stephanie Cabot. The publisher said the book “explores with compassion, grit, and honesty the generational trauma that is repeated and transmitted from mother to daughter in a part of poor, rural America that is rarely written about and in which the author herself grew up.” Stark has a master’s degree from the University of California at Davis.

Herat Hits Restless

For Restless Books, Ilan Stavans and Nathan Roston bought Praveen Herat’s debut, Between This World and the Next. The novel, which won the Restless Books Immigrant Fiction Prize (an honor that confers publication along with $10,000), is set for spring 2024 and is, per the publisher, a thriller that follows a British war photographer and a Cambodian woman. Elaborating, Restless said it’s a “brainy and headlong international thriller of arms dealing.” Anjali Singh at Ayesha Pande Literary handled the world rights deal for the author, who has a master’s in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in the U.K.

First Second Takes Qian’s Debut

First Second’s Robyn Chapman bought the debut graphic memoir Until We Meet Again by Lily Kim Qian. The author was represented in the world rights agreement by Nicolas Grivel at the Nicolas Grivel Agency. First Second said the book, slated for spring 2025, “tells the story of a young girl growing up in a loving but dysfunctional family in which an immigrant father struggles to play the role of sole caregiver and a mother grapples with her mental health.”

Buccola Ascends at RH

The Ascent by Allison Buccola was acquired by Random House in a two-book, world English rights agreement. The sophomore novel from the writer of 2022’s Catch Her When She Falls was compared by the PRH imprint to Girl A and The Push. The novel, the publisher continued, is about “a woman struggling with new motherhood, whose secret past as the sole survivor of a doomsday cult as a child is threatened to be exposed when a mysterious woman shows up at her front door.” RH’s Andrea Walker bought the book from Julia Kenny at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner.

Nat Geo Gets Upworthy

Two staffers at Upworthy (a website dedicated to sharing positive stories), Gabriel Reilich and Lucia Knell, sold Upworthy: Stories of Human Decency to Hilary Black at National Geographic Books. Black preempted world rights to the book, set for 2024, from Emma Parry at Janklow & Nesbit. Upworthy, which is part of the Good Worldwide company, bills itself as “an editorial and social media brand that strives to share the best of humanity with the world.” The book, Nat Geo said, is “a heartwarming collection of first-person tales that will provide comfort and inspiration to anyone who could use a little dose of joy right now.”

Del Rey Re-ups Bennett

The next two books in Robert Jackson Bennett’s forthcoming Shadow of the Leviathan series were acquired in a world rights deal at Del Rey. The first book in the series, The Tainted Cup, acquired earlier in another agreement, is being released in spring 2024. Bennett (the Founders Trilogy), a bestseller and Hugo finalist, was represented by Cameron McClure at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Julian Pavia at Del Rey acquired the titles, which, the publisher said, feature “a brilliant, eccentric detective and her long-suffering assistant.”