American literary agencies will be taking their usual range of eclectic projects to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Among the titles expected to draw lots of interest are Anna Quindlen’s new novel, Miller’s Valley; Tess Gerritsen’s Playing with Fire; and two works by Karl Ove Knausgaard, as well as an examination of artificial intelligence and a look back by Cindy Crawford.
One of Baror’s lead titles this year is With Malice (HMH, June 2016), a young adult novel by Eileen Cook. Described by the agency as the YA fiction answer to Serial (the wildly successful podcast), With Malice follows 18-year-old Jill Charron, who wakes up in a hospital room, with a “big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be.” Cook has authored 10 novels, but the agency, who is representing the author for the first time, calls the new novel her “breakout book, without question.” Rights have sold in the U.K. Next is the SF title All the Birds in the Sky (Tor, Jan. 2016), a debut novel by Charlie Jane Anders, editor-in-chief of IO9, the Gawker Media blog devoted to science fiction and fantasy. The novel tells the story of two childhood friends who are brought together to either “save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.” Anders’s story “Six Months, Three Days”—published on Tor.com, Tor’s website for original fiction—won the 2013 Hugo Award and was subsequently picked up for development into a NBC television series. Rights to All the Birds in the Sky have sold in Germany and the U.K. Baror will also be shopping Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (Daw, Sept.), a fantasy novel by Bradley P. Beaulieu. Already sold in Germany and the U.K., the novel tells the story of a young woman who defies the “cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal” 12 kings who rule the titular desert city. Michelle Gable’s novel I’ll See You in Paris (St. Martin’s/Dunne, Feb. 2016) winds together the lives of three women born generations apart. Gable is the author of the 2014 novel A Paris Apartment. On the nonfiction front, Baror will be shopping Self-Reg (Penguin Press, June 2016) by Stuart Shanker, with Teresa Barker. The book, which has sold in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Taiwan, China, and the U.K., offers training in how to use self-regulation to manage stress. Shanker’s methods were adopted in Ontario as the basis of a billion-dollar preschool program, according to the agency, and the new book brings his “groundbreaking research to parents.”
The Clegg Agency
In its second year at the fair, the Clegg Agency is going in bullish on Arcadia author Lauren Groff’s novel Fates and Furies (Riverhead, Sept.), which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction. The book, says the agent, is an “exhilarating novel about marriage.” Rights have sold in the U.K., the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, and Germany, among other territories. The agency will also be shopping Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen (Penguin Press, Aug.), which was a 2015 BookExpo America Editors’ Buzz Panel selection. The novel centers on a lonely young woman working in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the 1960s, who is pulled into a “very strange crime.” Moshfegh was the recipient of the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review, and is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford. Lastly, in True North (Knopf, June 2016), Pauls Toutonghi tells the true story of a lost dog’s 111-mile journey, and a family’s desperate search to find him. Rights have sold in Germany, Italy, and Brazil.
DeFiore and Company
A lead title on DeFiore’s list is photographer and blogger Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York: Stories (St. Martin’s, Oct.), a follow-up to his bestselling Humans of New York. The book has sold in the U.K., Germany, Turkey, and Thailand. The agency will also be selling an upcoming work by Melissa Broder, the once-anonymous author behind the popular Twitter account @sosadtoday, in which she expressed her darkest feelings with humor. She will explore more of the themes she touched on via social media in So Sad Today (Grand Central, Mar. 2016). In narrative nonfiction there is Lost Among the Birds (Bloomsbury, May 2016), in which author Neil Hayward is “unsure about his future and commitment to a girlfriend” but then “finds himself on a quest for birds and, in the process, discovers how to revamp his outlook on the world.” A hot novel for DeFiore is Ashes of Fiery Weather (HMH, Mar. 2016) by Kathleen Donohue, which tells the story of six generations of women in a firefighting family, from a famine-era Ireland to Brooklyn, ending a decade after 9/11. Lastly there’s Rick Yancey’s YA novel The Last Star (Putnam, May 2016), the closer to the 5th Wave trilogy.
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
A top pick for Dijkstra is Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built (Ecco, Apr. 2016) by Duncan Clark, who worked as a consultant to Chinese e-retail giant Alibaba in its early years. His book is an insider’s account of how an English teacher built one of the world’s most valuable companies, rivaling Walmart and Amazon. Another nonfiction title that Dijkstra is excited about is Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals (Yale Univ., May 2016) by Joel Dimsdale, distinguished professor emeritus and research professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California–San Diego. The book explores the extreme evil brought to light and examined during the Nuremburg trials. Rights have been sold in Italy and Taiwan. Rounding out the agency’s top nonfiction is The Power of Wandering (HarperCollins, Dec. 2016) by Stephen Prothero, in which the author uses literary references to ancient Greece and modern songwriters to explore the timeless practice and virtue of letting oneself wander. On the fiction front is Lisa See’s new novel The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Random, 2016), which moves from a remote Chinese village to sunny Pasadena, Calif., and blends contemporary characters with the history of the mysterious and the lucrative rare-tea trade. Dijkstra is also touting Kate White’s The Secrets You Keep (HarperCollins, June 2016). In White’s newest novel, a woman suffers a devastating car crash and is plagued by recurring nightmares and memory loss.
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
This year, the agency is big on Growing Up Clear (St. Martin’s, summer 2016), the story of David Miscavige’s childhood and his path to the head seat of the Church of Scientology, as told through the eyes of his father, Ron Miscavige, who left Scientology in 2012 after more than 30 years in the church. For fiction, there’s Zac Brewer’s The Blood Between Us (Harper Children’s, May 2016), a coming-of-age mystery about the “insidious limits of labels and the ties that bind a little too tight.” DGLM is also touting The Darkest Hour (Scholastic, summer 2016), a YA historical by Caroline Tung Richmond. The novel tells the story of a girl who trains as a spy assassin to avenge her brother in World War II France. A.J. Hartley’s young adult debut Steeplejack (Tor, June 2016) is another lead title on the agency’s list. The book is the first in a series about a teen who becomes entangled in a “web of secret plots and racial tensions surrounding a high-profile heist.” In Under Locker and Key (Aladdin, summer 2017) by debut author Allison K. Hymas, 12-year-old Jeremy, who specializes in retrieving lost and stolen items, has to team up with his nemesis to get back the school skeleton key.
Foundry Literary + Media
Foundry will be taking The Rift (Harper Voyager, fall 2016), the first book in an SF trilogy by Amy S. Foster, to the fair this year. The book is about a teenage girl who is a “captain in an elite force tasked with guarding the rifts that have opened up to connect our Earth with a limitless number of other versions of our planet.” Then there’s Missy Piggle Wiggle (Feiwel and Friends, fall 2016), featuring the character created by Betty MacDonald, which is being recast for a new generation by Ann M. Martin, in conjunction with MacDonald‘s great granddaughter Annie Parnell. On the nonfiction end of things, Foundry is touting Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (HarperOne, fall 2016), which offers “counterintuitive essays on happiness.” Lastly, there’s The Grass Isn’t Even Greener over There (Crown, spring 2017) by Gloria Fallon, sister toTonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. The book is a collection of humorous essays focused on Fallon’s upbringing in Saugerties, N.Y.
The Gernert Company
Riding high for Gernert is City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf, Oct.), which the agency calls “one of the most anticipated literary debuts in recent memory.” Rights to the epic novel set in New York City have already been sold to 16 countries including Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.K. Another choice literary novel is The Unseen World (Norton, June 2016) by Liz Moore, the author of Heft. Moore, a Rome Prize winner, crafts a tale about a daughter’s quest to restore the legacy of her brilliant, eccentric computer scientist father through the unbreakable code he left behind. On the SF front, Gernert is enthused about an inventive thriller debut, Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey, Apr. 2016). Rights to this story about the discovery of a giant metal hand, the physicist who uncovers its meaning, and the struggle for control of an earth-shaking power, have been sold in Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, and the U.K. Topping their nonfiction list is Life and Work by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna. A hybrid of biography and memoir by and about the writer and director of Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, the book is written with Lynch’s long-time friend and journalist. It has not yet been sold in the U.S., but has pre-empts in the U.K. and Germany.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Greenburger will be talking up two fiction titles, the first of which is a debut novel, Girl in the Afternoon (St. Martin’s, July 2016) by Serena Burdick. Set in Belle Époque Paris, the Impressionist artists come to life in a tale of young Amiée Savaray born into a wealthy family of art collectors. Another a top fiction pick is Barren Cove (Atria/Bestler, Apr. 2016) by Ariel S. Winter, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist for her earlier book The Twenty-Year Death. Winter’s new book is a futuristic Gothic novel that Isaac Marion, author of the New York Times bestsellers Warm Bodies and The Living, describes as “a thoughtful and affecting family drama that just happens to be about robots.” For the YA market, Greenburger is eager to talk about How to Disappear (Simon Pulse, May 2016) by Ann Redisch Stampler, a thriller that is told from the alternating points of view of two distinctly unreliable narrators. Nicolette is running for her life, tormented by the memory of a dead girl in the woods and terrified of being found, while Jack’s mission is to track her down. In the nonfiction arena, Greenburger will be shopping Old Records Never Die: One Man’s Quest for His Vinyl and His Past (Plume, Apr. 2016) by Eric Spitznagel. Exploring music, memory, and culture, journalist Spitznagel goes in search of his memories via the records that were the soundtrack of his youth. Lastly, there’s an updated and expanded edition of Daniel Amen’s Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Harmony, Nov.), which has sold more than 800,000 copies since its original 1998 publication. This edition boasts over 40% new material.
ICM Partners—handled by Curtis Brown (U.K.)
On ICM’s hot list for Frankfurt is Miller’s Valley (Random, Apr. 2016), the next novel from Anna Quindlen, which the agency describes as a masterly study of loss, memory, and home. Then there’s The Devil Wears Prada–author Lauren Weisberger’s yet-to-be-titled novel (Atria, summer 2016), the first in a new series set in the world of tennis. Two titles have been signed up for the series thus far, but no publication date for the second title has been set. Rights to the book have also sold in the U.K. Another novel the agency will be shopping is Nine Lives of a Little Black Dress (Doubleday, summer 2016), by Jane L. Rosen. With various story lines reminiscent of the film Love Actually, the novel’s common thread, according to ICM, is a single dress that “makes it onto the back of more New Yorkers than any other,” and the result is a “salute to New York, romance, and fashion.” Rights have sold in the U.K. A big nonfiction title is Seeking Our Successors: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (FSG) by Melanie Mitchell. The book, which will be delivered to the publisher next July, is a close look at the allure, history, successes, hopes, and emerging fears surrounding artificial intelligence by computer scientist and professor Mitchell.
One of the agency’s lead novels is The Heavenly Table (Doubleday, summer 2016) by Guggenheim fellow Donald Ray Pollock. The book, set in 1917, is about sharecropper brothers on the brink of starvation following the death of their domineering, religious father, who set out on horseback to rob, steal, and loot their way to wealth and infamy. Rights have sold in Germany, France, and the U.K. Then there’s the historical novel Georgia (Random, Mar. 2016) by Dawn Tripp. In the book, Tripp, the author of Season of Open Water and Game of Secrets, tells the story of Georgia O’Keeffe and her relationship with famed photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz. For nonfiction, the agency is big on Mitch Prinstein’s The Popularity Paradox (Viking, 2017). In the book, which has sold in Korea, the Netherlands, the U.K., and other countries, psychologist Prinstein presents new research and stories to reveal the “hidden impact of popularity.” Next there’s Always Hungry? (Grand Central, Jan. 2016) by David Ludwig, an endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. In the book, Ludwig “turns dieting on its head,” offering a “researched eating plan” that teaches readers to “retrain their fat cells, tame hunger, boost metabolism, and lose weight.” Rights have sold in Brazil, Germany, Poland, and the U.K. International supermodel Cindy Crawford chronicles her life and career in Becoming (Rizzoli, Sept.), which is written with Katherine O’Leary. The book, which includes photographs, spans Crawford’s entire career, beginning from the mid-80s and feature unpublished images from her personal archive.
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency Inc.
High on JVNLA’s list is Elizabeth Crane’s The History of Great Things (Harper Perennial, Apr. 2016). The novel tells the entwined stories of Lois, a daughter of the Depression-era Midwest who came to New York to become an opera star, and her daughter, Elizabeth, an aspiring writer who came of age in the 1970s in the shadow of her often-absent but always larger-than-life mother. A debut collection, In the Land of Armadillos: Stories (Scribner, Feb. 2016) by Helen Maryles Shankman, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, will also be talked up. The linked stories are set in a town in German-occupied Poland where mythic tales of Jewish folklore meet the real-life monsters of the Nazi invasion. Another top fiction pick is international bestselling author C.W. Gortner’s Marlene (Morrow, June 2016). It is based on the life of Marlene Dietrich’s struggles as an outrageous cabaret doyenne during the Weimar Republic, her bisexual affairs with Hollywood royalty, and her defiance during WWII. Switching gears to nonfiction, JVNLA is touting The Illustrated Book of Sayings (Ten Speed, spring 2017) by Ella Frances Sanders, a follow-up to Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World. This new book is an art-driven collection of 52 aphorisms, idioms, and adages from around the world that illuminate the whimsical nature of language. Rights have been sold in France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the U.K.
Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Among J&N’s top fiction titles this year is Black Deutschland (FSG, Feb. 2016) by Darryl Pinckney, author of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize–winning novel High Cotton. The novel, set in the 1980s, tells the story of Jed, a young man just out of rehab who leaves his hometown of Chicago to the city of his fantasies, Berlin. Wallace Stegner fellow Sari Wilson’s debut novel, Girl Through Glass (HarperCollins, Jan. 2016), “illuminates the costs of ambition, and the desire for beauty,” per the agency. The book was pre-empted by HarperCollins in the U.S. The agency will be touting another debut novel—Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (LB/Boudreaux, Jan. 2016) by Sunil Yapa, which is set during the heated conflict of Seattle’s 1999 WTO protests. Rights have sold in the U.K. and France. On J&N’s hot list of nonfiction books is Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea (FSG, Mar. 2016), Mitchell Duneier’s “comprehensive account of the ghetto, both as a notion and a space.” Then there’s Love, Loss, and What We Ate (Ecco, Mar. 2016) by Padma Lakshmi. In the book, the Top Chef host details her path from an “immigrant childhood to a complicated life in front of the camera.”
Jane Rotrosen Agency
Five fiction heavy hitters top Rotrosen’s list, led by Tess Gerritsen’s newest, Playing with Fire (Ballantine, Oct.). From the moment that Boston violinist Julia plays the opening notes of Incendio, a mysterious waltz that she discovered in an antique bookshop in Italy, she is in thrall to it. Desperate to uncover its origins, she returns to Italy and finds a secret that a powerful political family will do anything to protect. Rights have been sold in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and the U.K. Rotrosen is also jazzed about the novel Find Her (Dutton, Feb. 2016) by Lisa Gardner, which tells the story of Flora Dane. After being kidnapped and tormented for 472 days, Dane struggles to reacquaint herself with the rhythms of normal life. But when Boston Detective D.D. Warren learns that she has killed four dangerous predators in self-defense since her return to society, Warren thinks Dane holds the key to the case of a missing college student. Rights have been sold in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Next up is Tami Hoag’s The Bitter Season (Dutton, Feb. 2016). As the bitter weather of late fall descends on Minneapolis, Detective Nikki Liska is working on an old unsolved case and missing the adrenaline rush of solving recent murders with Sam Kovak, her former partner. But a danger that stalks a local wife and mother may bring Nikki and Sam back together and link their murder cases. Rights were sold to Orion in the U.K. Another top pick is Her Final Breath (Thomas & Mercer, Sept.) by Robert Dugoni, a follow-up to My Sister’s Grave, which initiated the Tracy Crosswhite series. Worldwide Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish rights are represented by Amazon Publishing; other languages are handled by Rotrosen. The agency is equally excited about the bestselling self-published title The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar, in which a woman is kidnapped, only to realize that the only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.
Trident Media Group
Trident will be heading to Germany pitching the frontlist and backlist for Melody Anne, a formerly self-published author who is now published by Simon & Schuster in the U.S. The agency is touting titles from their new client’s Billionaire Bachelors and Surrender series. Anne is currently published by Marabout in France. Another big title is Lisa Scottoline’s Most Wanted (St. Martin’s, Apr. 2016). In the novel, a woman discovers that the donor she used to conceive her child is a man arrested for a series of brutal murders. The agency is also big on the three titles in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Darkhunter series (St. Martin’s; first book, Aug. 2016), which follows Illarion, a dragon who was made human against his will and enslaved, but now has a chance to “regain what’s been lost.” Then there’s Katie Kitamura’s novel A Separation (Riverhead, fall 2016), a “portrait of a marriage haunted by secrets,” in which a woman travels to Greece in search of her missing, estranged husband. Kitamura is the author of The Longshot and Gone to the Forest. Trident will also be shopping titles in Deborah A. Wolf’s Song of the Sun Dragon Saga (Titan; first book, Nov. 2016). Described as in the tradition of Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Sarantine Mosaic and One Thousand and One Nights, the series “takes an unflinching look at real-world issues, such as the plight of indigenous peoples in a world mad for power.” The second and third books will follow the first in 12-month intervals.
Front and center on Victor’s list is Nigella Lawson’s Simply Nigella (Flatiron, Nov.), which taps into the rhythms of a busy cooking life with recipes that are uncomplicated and relaxed, yet eminently satisfying. Also being talked up is The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks (Flatiron, Oct. 2016) by Mark Frost, cocreator of the titular TV series, to which rights have been sold in 11 countries. A lot has happened in the 25 years since a strange, beguiling small town in the Pacific Northwest captivated audiences around the world. Just ahead of the Twin Peaks episodes that will air on Showtime next year, Frost’s book will reveal what has happened in the interim and will offer a glimpse into the central mystery of the original series. Pour Me, a memoir from Britain’s popular Sunday Times columnist A.A. Gill, will also be eagerly shopped. Rights have not yet been sold in the U.S., but Weidenfeld & Nicolson is publishing in the U.K. in November. A dark yet laugh-out-loud memoir, Pour Me charts the year between the end of Gill’s marriage and the end of his drinking. The agency calls it “a brilliant and funny book by the U.K.’s greatest journalist.” Another top nonfiction pick is Authorized History of the Seas (Viking, Oct. 2016) by bestselling author and columnist for the Times Ben Macintyre, in which he reveals the first-ever authorized history of the SAS. Published to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the regiment, it will cover the Second World War, beginning in 1941 when Scots Guard Lieutenant David Stirling had the unorthodox idea for small teams of parachute-trained soldiers to operate behind enemy lines. Victor bookends their top selections with another cookbook, the tentatively titled My Cottage Kitchen (Clarkson Potter) by Marte Marie Forsberg. Filled with 100 recipes for simple rustic seasonal comfort dishes, the book also features more than 150 photos for which this cook, now based in the English countryside, has attracted 244,000 Instagram followers.
A smoking-hot title for Writers House is Smoke (Doubleday, June 2016) by Giller Prize–finalist Dan Vyleta, a darkly fantastical tale in the spirit of Charles Dickens and Philip Pullman. Set in Victorian England, three young aristocrats must discover the dangerous truth behind smoke, the physical manifestation of sin. Rights have been sold in Canada, Russia, Serbia, Spain, and the U.K. Internationally bestselling author Andrew Gross’s new thriller, The One Man (Minotaur, fall 2016), will also be chatted up. Set during the high-stakes endgame of World War II, a U.S. intelligence operative is thrust undercover as a prisoner in Auschwitz, tasked with the mission of extracting a scientist who is indispensable to the West’s development of the Manhattan Project. Rights have been sold in the U.K. The agency is also excited about a powerful novel, Christodora (Grove/Atlantic, fall 2016) by Timothy Murphy, that portrays seven characters over 40 years in New York City. Opening with the Tompkins Square Park riots, the plot-driven story moves kaleidoscopically through decades of a gritty New York of sex, art, drugs, addiction, AIDS, and activism. Rights have been sold to Picador in the U.K. Next up is Flight Patters by Karen White (Berkley, May 2016). In it, White tells the story of two sisters—divided by more than a decade of silence and secrets—drawn reluctantly back together by the mysterious appearance of a long-lost piece of old china. Rounding out their top picks is a YA novel, Julia Vanishes (Knopf, June 2016), by debut author Catherine Egan, which launches the Witch’s Child fantasy trilogy. The novel follows Julia, a teenage spy with a rare but capricious ability to be unseen as she infiltrates the genteel and dangerous house of Mrs. Och. German rights have been sold.
Wylie will feature two projects by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Norwegian author of the My Struggle series of autobiographical novels. Both will be published in the U.S. by Penguin Press. The first is The Morning Star, a novel about a town that is shocked by the horrifying murder of three young men in a local heavy metal band. Narrated by a variety of town residents, the book is, per the agent, “a realist novel that builds, unforgettably, into an apocalyptic fantasy.” Also by Knausgaard is a four-volume work of nonfiction, which is composed of short daily meditations that form a “personal encyclopedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars.” The first of the series, In Autumn, was published in Norwegian in August and will be released in the U.S. in early fall 2017. In Winter, In Spring, and In Summer will follow sequentially; the publication will be completed in Norwegian in May 2016. Rights to the projects, which are being sold together, have been picked up in Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., and other territories. Next up from Wylie is Orhan Pamuk’s 10th novel, The Red-Haired Woman (U.S. rights not yet sold), the story of a well digger and his apprentice, as they seek water on barren land. Rights have sold in Turkey. Wylie is also highlighting National Book Award–winner Louise Erdrich’s novel LaRose (HarperCollins, May 2016), about a young boy who becomes the bridge between two families when one father shoots and kills his neighbor’s son while hunting. Conforming to the old ways of tribal custom, one family offers its own son, LaRose, to the other. The book has also sold in the U.K. Wylie will also be shopping Patrick French’s authorized biography of Doris Lessing, The Golden Woman. U.S. rights to the book have not yet sold. Then there’s Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff’s The Curse of Cash (Princeton Univ.), which puts forth the argument that “paper currency is now perhaps the single biggest impediment to the smooth functioning of our global financial system.” The book will be delivered to Princeton in December 2015.
This article has been updated to reflect a title change. After press time, the title for Lisa Scottoline's forthcoming novel was changed from The Countdown to Most Wanted.