Brown ‘Steps’ to Morrow
In a U.S. and Canadian rights agreement, William Morrow bought Millie Bobby Brown’s debut novel, Steps. Morrow said the September-slated title by the Stranger Things actor, sold to Liz Stein by Alyssa Reuben at William Morris Endeavor, is “an epic story of love, loss, and secrets” about Nellie, a British 18-year-old who falls for an American airman in London during WWII. Inspired by the life of Brown’s grandmother, Steps follows Nellie as she learns that “love and happiness can triumph.”
S&S Lights Johnson’s ‘Fire’
Sheila Johnson, a cofounder of BET, sold her memoir, Walk Through Fire, to Simon & Schuster. Robert B. Barnett at Williams & Connolly represented the entrepreneur and philanthropist in the world rights agreement. The publisher said that in the book, Johnson, who became the world’s first Black female billionaire, shares her “inspiring story of overcoming toxic influences, discovering her true self, and at last finding happiness in her work and life.” Among other adversities, she overcame institutional racism in the boardroom, emotional abuse in her long-standing marriage, and the loss of a child to find “renewed purpose and meaning.” LaSharah Bunting, who is no longer at S&S, acquired the title; Maria Mendez is now editing the book.
Greer’s ‘Bot’ Pleases Mariner
World English rights to Annie Bot by Sierra Greer were acquired for mid-six figures by Kate Nintzel at Harper-Collins’s Mariner imprint. The publisher compared the near-future-set novel, which Nintzel co-preempted with Suzie Dooré at HarperCollins UK’s Borough Press, to the fiction of Kazuo Ishiguro and the film Ex Machina. It follows “a humanlike robot created to be the perfect girlfriend, and what happens when she learns to lie,” exploring questions about “intimacy, power, desire, and autonomy.” Kirby Kim at Janklow & Nesbit represented Greer, who’s making her adult debut with the title.
St. Martin’s Hears Liang’s ‘Song’
St. Martin’s Press senior editor Tiffany Shelton took world English rights, in a two-book agreement at auction, to Ann Liang’s A Song to Drown Rivers. The fall 2024–slated novel is a reimagining of the life of Xishi, one of four beautiful women from an ancient Chinese legend. The publisher said the title is a feminist take on the tale, comparing it to Ariadne by Jennifer Saint and She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. Liang (This Time It’s Real) was born in Beijing, and grew up in China and Australia. Kathleen Rushall at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented Liang.
Charles’s ‘Librarian’ Joins Atria
At Atria Books, Natalie Hallak bought world English rights to The Librarian of Lost Stories by Janet Skeslien Charles (The Paris Library). Atria said the novel follows two librarians from different eras, both employed by the New York Public Library, who find themselves unexpectedly linked. Jessie “Kit” Carson is a volunteer for an organization that worked to rebuild French communities during WWI who goes missing. In the 1980s, Wendy Peterson discovers Carson’s story and becomes fixated on finding out what happened to her. The Librarian of Lost Stories was sold by Heather Jackson and is set for April 2024.
Raymer Goes ‘Nuclear’ at RH
For Random House, Andrea Walker bought world rights to Nuclear: Family and its Aftermath by Beth Raymer (Lay the Favorite). The nonfiction book follows two sisters who grew up poor in Florida during the 1980s. One went on to become a success in business while the other wound up in prison for committing a series of crimes. David Vigliano at Vigliano Associates represented Raymer.