With some in the business grumbling that the run-up to this year's Frankfurt Book Fair has been quieter than usual on the deals front, one buzzed-about debut novel has been nabbed in a seven-figure, North American rights acquisition. Canadian screenwriter Elan Mastai's debut novel All Our Wrong Todays was preempted by Maya Ziv at Dutton for a rumored $1.25 million.
The deal marks Ziv's first acquisition at Dutton; she joined the Penguin Random House imprint in August from Harper. Simon Lipskar at Writers House, who sold the book--which blends comedy, romance and science fiction--said the novel has "something for everyone."
All Our Wrong Todays follows a man from a Utopian alternate universe who, through a time travel malfunction, winds up marooned in the real 2015. Then he must decide if he wants to establish a life in this new world, or head back to the Utopian one he came from. As Lipskar explained in his pitch letter: "Imagine if Kurt Vonnegut had decided to tell a story like The Time Traveler's Wife with the narrative voice of Jonathan Tropper."
Tropper (This Is Where I Leave You), as it happens, is the link that brought Mastai, who lives in Toronto, to Lipskar. A friend of Mastai's, Tropper, who is represented for books by Lipskar, recommended that Mastai take his literary project to the agent. Mastai is a working screenwriter and his biggest project to date is as the screenwriter of the romantic comedy What If?, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, and was released in the States in 2014.
All Our Wrong Todays, which Lipskar called "the perfect literary crossover novel," does not yet have a publication date. Which imprint and editor will publish the book for Random House in Canada is also still being decided. A deal for the book has closed in Brazil, where Intrinsica preempted. Lipskar, who will be in Frankfurt, said he expects sales of the novel to close in all the major territories before the fair gets underway next week.