With the Frankfurt Book Fair kicking off on Wednesday, PW takes a look at some big-ticket deals that have closed in the days before the event. In addition to the titles we mentioned in our agents’ and publishers’ roundups, here are a few books to watch in Germany:
--Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, Dissident Gardens. Eric Simonoff at WME sold North American rights, in a two-book deal, to the family saga, which follows three generations of politically left-leaning Americans and is set in Sunnyside, Queens. Doubleday once again signed the author, but we hear he may be moving houses in the U.K., leaving longtime publisher, Faber. An insider said Faber made an offer, but there is a lot of interest in the U.K. around the title and Lethem may go elsewhere.
--Another title we’ll be watching in Germany is Ellen Hopkins’s Triangles, which Atria took world rights to from agent Laura Rennert in a seven figure deal. The book is the first adult title by the bestselling YA author of titles like Tricks and Fallout. U.S. publisher Atria confirmed that the book will be one of the house’s highlight titles and that interest is high, but no foreign deals have closed yet.
--Agent Susan Golomb will be shopping rights to Janice Steinberg’s An Intelligent Jewess. Golomb sold North American rights to the book to Random House in an upper six figure deal and confirmed that deals have already closed in France, Holland, and Italy with offers in Spain and Brazil. Steinberg, a freelance journalist who wrote a few paperbacks for Berkley in the ‘90s, follows an 85-year-old woman in the novel, who’s looking for clues about her twin sister who disappeared from the Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights on the eve of WWII. Golomb said the book has a “classic appeal” and is reminiscent of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; she added that the title could have crossover appeal in the YA market.
--Hachette closed two notable deals in the days before the fair. In the first, Judy Clain at Little, Brown nabbed world rights to Ayad Akhtar’s first novel, American Dervish for upper six figures. A Hachette rep said the book is about a Muslim family’s “struggle to find its place in a deeply ambivalent society” and that it recalls “watershed, cross-cultural debut novels.” Rights have sold in Holland and auctions are underway in Norway and Italy. The other Hachetter deal that drew a lot of buzz is the supposed $500,000 acquisition of Benjamin Percy’s literary werewolf novel, Red Moon, which Helen Atsma bought in her first deal as an editor at Grand Central. (Percy won a Whiting Award and published both the short story collection Refresh, Refresh and the novel The Wilding to some acclaim at Graywolf Press.) This novel, which is an update on the werewolf myth set in the American West, has sold in the U.K., Brazil, Holland, and Italy; there are offers on the title in Sweden, Germany, France, and Spain.
--Richard Pine at Inkwell closed an upper six figure deal on a debut novel from Erin Morgenstern called The Night Circus. Doubleday nabbed world rights in the deal, and no word yet on foreign sales, but the book has gotten people talking. The title, which one film scout said drew “raves”--is set at the turn of the 19th century and follows two competing magicians who both work at a popular night circus.