Art Spiegelman gets 'meta' on Maus; Richard Ford heads to the Great White North; Pete Townsend talks 'Tommy' (and life); and Jonathan Evison explores caregiving. These are just some of the authors the American agents will be pushing in the rights center this year.
A book Baror will be pushing hard in Frankfurt is Lissa Price’s Starters (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Mar. 2012), a futuristic thriller, and the first in a series, about a girl in a society where beauty is coveted at all costs,; rights sold in various countries. From Boston Globe columnist Meredith Goldstein is The Minus Ones (Plume, summer 2012), which dissects the lives of five wedding guests, who are all coming solo to a lavish Chesapeake Bay nuptials; rights sold in Brazil, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee have Forbidden (Center Street, Sept. 2011), the first thriller in a trilogy set in a medieval future; rights sold in the Netherlands and the U.K. From Diana Gabaldon is The Scottish Prisoner (Delacorte, Nov. 2011), the third entry in the Lord John series from the author of the bestselling Outlander series; rights sold in a number of countries. From Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt is The Swerve (Norton, Sept. 2011), an “innovative work of history,” about how an ancient text by Lucretius that “changed the course of human thought” was saved; rights sold in Brazil, Germany, Holland, Korea, and the U.K.
DeFiore & Company
One of the big books on DeFiore’s list is Jen Lancaster’s Jeneration X (NAL, May 2012), a memoir from the bestselling novelist (Such a Pretty Fat) about the difficulty of acting her age. From Neal Barnard, M.D., is Power Foods for Your Brain (Grand Central, Feb. 2013), a diet regimen to combat Alzheimer’s as well as lift your overall energy. The agency also has Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider’s Not Your Mother’s Rules: Dating Secrets for Texting, Facebook, Booty Calls and Everything Else! (Grand Central, 2013), a new guide from the authors of The Rules that updates their dating dos and don’ts for the 21st century; rights sold in the U.K. and Korea. From Dr. Brandy Dunn, writing with David Rensin, is the memoir The Men on My Couch (Berkley, 2013), an account from a female psychotherapist who treated a number of men and listened to intimate details about their sex lives; rights sold in Brazil, Germany, and Italy. And from Jennifer Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudúlph is The Feminist Bombshell: A No-Guilt Guide to a Smart, Sexy, and Empowered Life (HMH, Mar. 2013), a guide from the cofounders of SexyFeminist.com.
On the fiction front, Dijkstra will be pushing Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement (HC, fall 2012), which stretches from the 1890s to the 1930s, and San Francisco to Shanghai, as it follows a Chinese-American courtesan; rights sold in a number of countries including Canada, Germany, and Poland. From Indira Ganesan is As Sweet As Honey (Knopf, spring 2013), a novel set on a fictional island off of India about a tall woman whose short husband unexpectedly dies at their wedding. Robert Pobi has Bloodman (Amazon/Thomas and Mercer, Mar. 2012), a psychological thriller about an FBI contractor dealing with a dangerous person from his past; rights sold in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. On the nonfiction front the agency has Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan’s The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program (Workman, Jan. 2012), which lays out a “whole body, whole-mind” regimen. And from Charles Moore, writing with Cassandra Phillips, is Plastic Ocean (Avery, Oct. 2011), an account from the man who discovered the mass of refuse adrift in the Pacific Ocean known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”
Dystel & Goderich
A major title on DGLM’s list is Joe Bastianich’s Restaurant Man (Viking, spring 2012), a “take-no-prisoners” memoir from the famed restaurateur (and son of Lydia) that the agency says is written in “an authentic New York style that is as unapologetic as it is hilarious.” From NPR’s current v-p of programming, Eric Nuzum, there’s the memoir Giving Up the Ghost (RH, summer 2012), about friendship, loss, and “the downside of recreational drug use.” On the YA side, DGLM has Heather Brewer’s The Legacy of Tril: Bloodbound (Dutton, summer 2012), the first title in a new fantasy series from the author of the bestselling middle-grade series, the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. Another YA title the agency will be talking up is Cyn Balog’s Dead River (Delacorte, spring 2013), a paranormal thriller about a teenage girl who gets a tip about what happened to her mother, who disappeared years earlier on a white water rafting trip. The big middle-grade title from the agency is J. Scott Savage’s The Grimville Case Files (Harper Childen’s, spring 2013), the first in a series about three boys who are obsessed with monsters and solve mysteries in their town.
One of the big books Foundry will be pushing in the rights center is the new one from West of Here author Jonathan Evison, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (Algonquin, Jan. 2013), about a former stay-at-home dad who, after taking the title course, finds he’s woefully unprepared to work with a bitter 19-year-old with advanced muscular dystrophy; the agency says the book is “part road trip, part buddy story, and part coming-of-middle-age.” From Elizabeth Percer is An Educated Woman (HC, May 2012), about a girl set on going into medicine after suffering a loss at a young age. Journalist Robin Gaby Fisher teams with producer Angelo Guglielmo for The Woman Who Wasn’t There (Touchstone, Apr. 2012), based on the forthcoming eponymous documentary about a con artist named Tania Head, who, motivated by something other than greed (since she made no money), commandeered a 9/11 survivors’ group with her detailed, and fabricated, account of escaping the World Trade Center attacks. In The Road to Valor: Gino Bartali, Tour de France Legend and Italy’s Secret WWII Hero (Crown, summer 2012), Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon, a brother-and-sister writing team, explore the life of the man known as “The Lion of Tuscany,” who won the famed bike race in 1938 and was unable to defend his title until 10 years later, after he returned from the front lines of WWII; rights sold in Brazil, Holland, and the U.K. On the YA front is Jess Rothenberg’s debut, The Catastrophic History of You & Me (Dial Books for Young Readers, Feb. 2012), about a 15-year-old girl who literally dies of a broken heart and then enters a state of limbo; the novel, which has sold in various countries, was inspired by a Wall Street Journal article about a rare condition known as Broken Heart syndrome.
Gelfman Schneider (handled by Curtis Brown)
Among GS’s big books in Germany is Peggy Hesketh’s Telling the Bees (Putnam, 2012), a literary mystery about a California beekeeper who is haunted by the death of his childhood friend and neighbor. From bestseller Jeffery Deaver is XO (S&S, summer 2012), the third entry in the author’s Kathryn Dance series, set in the world of the music business. Manette Ansay is out with the novel Walking on Earth, a first-person account from the perspective of a 30-year-old man who finds out, shortly after his father’s death, that he was living a double life and had a second family. Ansay is the author of numerous novels, including the Oprah Book Club selection Vinegar Hill. And from debut novelist Kathleen Alcott there’s The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets (Other Press, Oct. 2012), about two brothers who sleepwalk and form a tight bond with their neighbor, coming together as an unlikely family, but one that is tested as each member grows up.
One of the hot books on Gernert’s list is Chris Pavone’s The Expats (Crown, May 2012), a debut thriller from a former editor—he worked at Doubleday, Crown, and elsewhere—who spent a year living in Luxembourg with his family. The book, which Molly Stern pre-empted for a significant sum, goes back and forth between London and Luxembourg as it follows the wife of a man who, after he takes a job in Europe, falsely assumed she’ll be able to leave behind her top-secret life in the CIA; rights sold in various countries including France, Germany, and the U.K. From Alex Grecian is The Yard (Putnam, June 2012), a debut thriller from the author of the graphic novel series Proof (pubbed by Image and recently optioned by Samuel L. Jackson) that is set in Victorian London; rights sold in Israel, Russia, and the U.K. Gernert will be talking up Liz Moore’s Heft (Norton, Jan. 2012), a novel the agency says is about “two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives”; rights sold in France and Italy. From Toby Barlow is Babayaga, a debut novel that follows Russian witches in 1950s Paris from an n+1 contributor; no publisher yet in the U.S. Gernert is also still selling rights to the big fall novel from Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding (Little, Brown, Sept. 2011), which has been optioned by HBO and already acquired in a number of countries including Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.K.
Sanford J. Greenburger
SJGA is coming to Germany with a new one from Brad Thor, Full Black (Atria, July 2011), which continues the author’s Scot Harvath series (he’s a former Navy SEAL who’s now in the Secret Service) and was recently optioned by Warner Bros.; the agency says WB is looking to build a “Jason Bourne–like” franchise around the books. On the nonfiction side there is The Breakup Bible (Three Rivers Press, Dec. 2011) by Rachel Sussman, a guide for the brokenhearted and dumped, from a licensed psychotherapist. Also in adult NF is a new one from Stairways to Heaven author Lorna Byrne, A Message of Hope from the Angels, in which the mystic offers exactly what the title indicates; rights sold in the U.K. On the children’s side, SJGA will be selling the middle-grade novel, The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant (FSG/Frances Foster Books, Oct. 2011) by Michelle Cuevas, about an orphan boy, raised by an elephant, who is a talented painter; rights sold in Germany, Israel, and Taiwan. And from Karen Sandler is the YA novel Tankborn (Tu Books/Lee & Low, Sept. 2011), about a teenager in a futuristic world where the populace is divided into humans and nonhuman slaves; rights sold in Italy.
ICM (handled by Curtis Brown)
ICM is trotting out a number of offerings from heavy-hitting American novelists, including the new one from Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, Home (Knopf, May 2012), about a Korean war veteran who is broken of his all-consuming self-loathing when he is forced to save his sister from medical abuse in the tiny Georgia town where the two were raised. From Nell Freudenberger is The Newlyweds (Knopf, May 2012), a love story the agency says is about “the exhilarations—and complications—of getting, and staying, wed”; Freudenberger was one of the New Yorker’s up-and-coming authors on its recent “20 Under 40” list. ICM also has Richard Ford’s latest, Canada (Ecco, June 2012), which it claims is the author’s greatest work to date, a “fast-paced, haunting, and visionary novel of vast landscapes, complex identities and fragile humanity”; rights sold in France and Germany. From Ben Fountain is Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, May 2012), a satire set in Texas during the U.S. war in Iraq from the PEN/Hemingway award winner. On the nonfiction front is Michael J. Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy (FSG, Apr. 2012), in which the author of Justice probes what is wrong with a world in which everything is for sale.
On the fiction side, Inkwell is shopping David Vann’s Dirt (HC, spring 2012), about a mother-son relationship that is too close for comfort, where the mother tries to keep her son as a kind of surrogate husband. Vann is the bestselling author of Caribou Island; manuscript is due in November. The other fiction title the agency is touting is Amber Dermont’s The Starboard Sea (SMP, Mar. 2012), about a prep school boy in 1987 who suspects the death of his friend, during a major New England hurricane, is not an accident. On the nonfiction front, is Salman Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse (Twelve, 2013), an outline for the future of global education from a former hedge fund manager who became an Internet sensation after posting a series of tutoring videos on YouTube. Also on the NF front, the agency is pushing journalist Peter Pringle’s Experiment Eleven (Walker, spring 2012), about a young Rutgers scientist who accidentally discovered the first cure for tuberculosis in 1943 and the ensuing battle to take credit for his work. Then there’s Robert Frank’s The High-Beta Rich (Crown, Nov.), which “tells the human story of the decline of the newly moneyed class, and chronicles the cultural and political impact their plummet has had upon the global economy.”
Janklow & Nesbit
One of the major titles Janklow & Nesbit has on offer is Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians (FSG, Mar. 2012), a new memoir from the author of the lauded 2008 memoir Two Kinds of Decay, about the suicide of the author’s close friend who threw himself in front of an oncoming subway car after escaping from a New York mental hospital. From Richard North Patterson is Fall from Grace (Scribner, Mar. 2012), in which a former CIA operative looks into the death of his estranged father, a famous writer. J&N also has The Lion Is In (Penguin, May 2012), a novel about three women at a crossroads, from novelist (Hanging Up) and screenwriter (You’ve Got Mail) Delia Ephron. Debut novelist Kate Karyus Quinn has Another Little Piece (HarperTeen), about a girl who, after a car accident, comes to in the body of another girl and begins living that girl’s life. The agency will also be selling Michael Moore’s newest, Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life (Grand Central, Sept. 2011), a collection of 24 vignettes about the filmmaker/pundit/provocateur’s childhood; rights sold in various countries.
Sterling Lord Literistic
Some of the hot titles on SLL’s list include Colin McAdam’s Black Bugs, a literary novel from the Canadian writer whose Fall was shortlisted for the Giller; rights sold in Canada to Penguin. From Abdellah Taia is An Arab Melancholy, acquired in the States by indie house Semiotext(e), about, per the agency, “the lives of people living in the margins in France and Morocco”; rights sold in various countries including France, Italy, and Sweden. The agency also has Pulitzer-winning journalist William Broad’s Bliss: The Untold Story of the Science of Yoga (S&S, Apr. 2012), about the medical establishment’s embrace of yoga as a treatment for everything from insomnia to diabetes. There’s also Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist (Norton, spring 2012), in which the New Yorker contributor grapples with, as the agency explains, “the riddle of existence,” and asks: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” SLL also has journalist Marianne Szegedy-Maszak’s Your Hands Are Kissed Many Times (Spiegel & Grau, fall 2012), a multigenerational family memoir that covers, among other things, the “changing borders of the Austro-Hungarian empire during World Wars I, II, and through the 1960s.”
William Morris Endeavor
WME has a heavy focus on fiction among its big books. There’s Dartmouth grad and former U.S. Marine Phil Klay’s debut, Redeployment and Other Stories (which Penguin Press just acquired in the States and Canongate pre-empted in the U.K.); the agency says the book is not “about Iraq and not even about America; it is about a group of very young men and women who are asked to kill and who are expected to die.” From the celebrated U.K. children’s author Kevin Brooks is his second adult crime novel, Until the Darkness Comes (U.S. sale pending, with sales closed in Germany and the U.K.), which is set over Halloween weekend and follows a private detective who goes to stay on a remote island off the British coast. From Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad Marjorie Celona is the novel Y (Free Press), a first-person account by a woman searching for her roots who, as a newborn, was left on the doorstep of a YMCA. In the middle-grade category is Hollywood writing duo Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz’s Colin Fischer (which, as of this writing, is at auction in the States), about a 14-year-old with severe Asperger’s who sets out to prove the innocence of an unlikely classmate, the school bully, after the bully is charged with unloading a gun in the high school cafeteria; Miller and Stentz wrote the screenplays for, among others, X Men: First Class and Agent Cody Banks. The big nonfiction book WME is selling is Brian L. Weiss’s Sometimes Miracles Happen (which is on submission in the States), the ninth book from the M.D. whose areas of study include reincarnation and past-life regression; he is the bestselling author of Many Lives, Many Masters.
Jean V. Naggar Agency
Among Naggar’s hot titles is Phillip Margolin’s Capitol Murder (HC, Apr. 2012), the latest thriller from the bestselling author featuring Pacific Northwest attorney Brad Miller and East Coast private detective Dana Cutler. Then there’s Jeffrey Halverson’s Searching for a King (Potomac, summer 2012) in which the Arizona State professor (and “expert in Islamic studies”) advocates for the Muslim world to “adopt a new, nonviolent concept of jihad.” From Patry Francis is The Orphans of Race Point (S&S, fall 2012), a novel about a nine-year-old who becomes entangled with the sole witness to a crime in her small Portuguese community on Cape Cod. Lesley Livingston has Starling (HarperTeen, fall 2012), a YA entry that the agency says “blends Norse, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies in the first of an action-packed trilogy reminiscent of The Bourne Identity series.” And from Evelyn Resh there’s Women, Sex, Power, and Pleasure (Hay House, summer 2012), a guide for women that reveals strategies for improving their sex drive; rights sold in China and Russia.
One of the titles JR will be talking up is Iris Johansen’s Bonnie (SMP, Oct. 2011), the final in the author’s Eve/Quinn/Bonnie trilogy. From Tami Hoag is a new addition to her Oak Knoll series, Down the Darkest Road (Dutton, Dec. 2011), about a mother whose world is rocked when the prime suspect in her daughter’s disappearance resurfaces; rights sold in the U.K. Kristin Hannah has the novel Home Front (SMP, Jan. 2012), which the agency says examines “the price of war on an ordinary American marriage and family”; U.K rights sold. Bestseller Lisa Gardner has Catch Me (Dutton, Feb. 2012), a new book in the author’s D.D. Warren series, featuring that PI. And from Michael Palmer there’s the thriller Oath of Office (SMP, Feb. 2012), about a man blamed for his colleague’s shooting rampage, who, while investigating the crime, stumbles on a government coverup.
With a number of bestselling Kindle authors on its hotlist, Trident is pushing Chris Culver, the author of the self-published hit The Abbey, about a former homicide detective named Ash Rashid who, planning on retiring, is pulled back to the job when his niece turns up dead; Culver is a pen name for a St. Louis philosophy professor, and rights have not yet sold. Another bestselling Kindle author is Andrew Mayne, whose Public Enemy Zero follows a man who continues to narrowly avoid death after a virus sends everyone he meets into a homicidal rage; no rights have sold. From Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad and Michener-Copernicus Fellowship winner Ayana Mathis is The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Knopf, fall/winter 2013), a novel that follows the 11 children of one woman, who left Georgia for Philadelphia in 1923, over eight decades. Maya Banks has the fourth entry in her erotic romance KGI series—about a military family with six brothers who’ve all served in the armed forces—Whispers in the Dark (Berkley, Jan. 2012). On the nonfiction side is Newsweek International editor Andrew Nagorski’s Hitlerland (S&S, Mar. 2012), an exploration of the lives and perspectives of Americans who were living in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power; rights sold in Poland and Lithuania.
The agency will be talking up the newest from Man Booker winner John Banville, Ancient Light (Knopf, autumn 2012); rights sold to Penguin U.K. Author of the bestselling World War Z (which is being adapted into a 2012 film starring Brad Pitt), Max Brooks, has the fiction collection The Extinction Parade & Other Stories; the book has not yet been acquired in the States, but rights have sold in other countries, including Brazil, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. The agency will also be talking up a debut novel from historian Juliet Nicolson called Abdication (Atria, May 2012); set in London in 1936, it explores such themes as secrecy, love, and politics. Lucian Freud’s friend, Evening Standard editor Georgie Greig, who was one of a handful of people that regularly had breakfast with the famous painter (who died in July), offers up the memoir Breakfast with Lucian; rights sold in the U.K. And from Who frontman Pete Townsend is the eagerly awaited autobiography Who He? (HC in U.S. and U.K, Oct. 2012); rights sold in Brazil, Germany, Finland, and Norway.
WH will be touting the latest from Barbara Delinsky, Sweet Salt Air (SMP, spring 2012), about two women and a secret pregnancy that could upend their lives. From Megan Abbott is Dare Me (Little, Brown, summer 2012), which follows two friends in a destructive relationship; the agency is dubbing it “Fight Club for girls.” Sweet Valley High author Francine Pascal, who returned this year with a bestselling reboot of the series, Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, has a serial e-book adult series about the twins from the books, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. From Steve Berry, the bestselling author of The Jefferson Key, is his first stand-alone thriller since 2006, The Columbus Affair, in which he “rewrites everything readers think they know about the man who discovered America.” And from Leonard Mlodinow is the nonfiction book Subliminal (Pantheon, May 2012), an examination of the subliminal mind from the author of Drunkard’s Walk.
Among the agency’s big books is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Small Redemptions of Lagos. The book is forthcoming from Knopf (fall 2011) and is a love story set in Nigeria and London in the 1990s about “the ways in which people invent and reinvent themselves”; foreign sales have closed in, among other countries, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. From Nadeem Aslam is The Blind Man’s Garden, which begins in October 2001 and follows two Pakistani brothers who go to war following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan; the manuscript is scheduled for delivery in October 2011. Lisa Randall has Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Ecco, Sept. 2011), which explores “how we decide which scientific questions to study and how we go about answering them”; rights have sold in, among other countries, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K. The agency will also be pushing Art Spiegelman’s latest, MetaMaus (Pantheon, Oct. 2011), which is a companion book (with a DVD) to Spiegelman’s iconic graphic novel Maus; rights sold in a number of countries including France, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. Then there is the posthumous collection from John Updike, Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism (Knopf, Nov. 2011), which is edited by Library of America staffer Christopher Carduff.