Layden Is on ‘Top’ at Mariner

Mariner Books’ Katherine Nintzel won North American rights at auction, for six figures, to Emily Layden’s Once More from the Top. The novel, Mariner said, was pitched as a “big, ambitious breakout” with shades of “Gillian Flynn meets Daisy Jones and the Six.” It follows a pop star whose best friend and collaborator went missing when they were in high school. After the friend is found dead 15 years later, the discovery forces the pop star to “revisit their shared past, her friend’s influence on her music, and whether there’s more to their story than meets the eye,” the publisher added. Layden works in TV development and is the author of the 2021 novel All Girls, which was a New York Times Book Review staff pick and was named a best book of 2021 by Good Housekeeping. She was represented in the deal by Lisa Grubka at Fletcher & Co. Once More from the Top is scheduled for 2024.


Goodman’s ‘Ladies’ Hit Berkley

Berkley’s Kate Seaver preempted North American rights to Alison Goodman’s The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies, as part of a two-book deal. Goodman is the bestselling author of the Dark Days Club YA trilogy, and Benevolent Society is her adult fiction debut. Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management, who represented Goodman, said the novel was pitched as “Bridgerton meets Lady Sherlock” and follows unmarried 42-year-old Lady Augusta “Gus” Colebrook, who, “fed up with being dismissed as an old maid, launches into a thrilling double life with her twin sister Julia as unseen champions of those in need, aided by a charming highwayman with a complicated past.” Benevolent Society is set for spring 2023, with a currently untitled sequel also under contract.

Overlook Counts Lefferts’s ‘Ways’

PW contributor and Columbia MFA graduate Daniel Lefferts sold his debut novel, Ways and Means, to Overlook Press. Zachary Knoll bought North American rights, at auction, from Chris Clemans at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. Clemans described the novel as a “sweeping” tale about “class and ambition, politics and art, sex and power.” Ways and Means follows Alistair, who, after fleeing his Rust Belt town for Wall Street, becomes “entangled in a reckless affair with an older gay couple and the unsavory machinations of an enigmatic industrial tycoon.” Ways and Means is slated for early 2024.

St. Martin’s Welcomes Lin’s ‘Daughter’

In a two-book deal, Tiffany Shelton at St. Martin’s Press took world English rights to Rosalie M. Lin’s debut novel, Daughter of Calamity. The publisher said the adult historical fantasy, acquired in a joint deal with Georgia Summer at Pan Macmillan UK, is “set in the nightclubs and roadside temples of Jazz Age Shanghai.” It follows a cabaret performer who “schemes against ancient gods and powerful gangs to protect her fellow dancers from mysterious, face-stealing attacks.” Lin, who lives in the Bay Area and has an undergraduate degree in comparative literature, has worked as a performer in Beijing nightclubs. She was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2020. Kurestin Armada at Root Literary represented her in the deal. Daughter of Calamity is slated for winter 2024.

Bloomsbury Takes Vasilyuk’s Debut

New York Times contributor Sasha Vasilyuk sold Your Presence Is Mandatory to Bloomsbury. Grace McNamee bought North American rights to the debut novel, which, the publisher said, is “set between Hitler’s Germany and post-WWII Ukraine.” It’s about “a Ukrainian Jewish soldier and his family, who reckon with his lifelong secrecy after discovering a letter he wrote to the KGB.” Michelle Brower at Trellis Literary Management represented Vasilyuk in the deal, and Your Presence Is Mandatory is set for spring 2024.