In this week's column, Greece's new minister of finance doles out money advice; a Congolese novel gains international attention after drawing critical acclaim (and landing on the shortlist for a major literary award) in France; and a Swedish debut begins selling abroad before being published at home.
Swedish Debut Picks Up Sales
Hotel Angleterre, the debut novel by Swedish novelist Marie Bennett, is picking up interest, and international sales, before its release in the author's home country. The title, which will be published in Sweden by Wahlstrom and Widstrand this summer, has already sold to Editions Denoel in France; Gyldendal in Norwayl; and Marginesy in Poland. The Pontas Agency controls all rights. Set in Sweden during WWII, the book looks at an oft-overlooked historical footnote when two Swedish soldiers froze to death in the North of Sweden. The incident caused other soldiers to launch a mutiny against their commanding officers.
Greek Finance Minister's Book Draws Interest
Greek publisher Patakis is drawing heat on a book it has just published by Greece's new minister of finance, Yanis Varoufakis, called Talking to My Daughter About the Economy. In the book Varoufakis sets out to teach teens and adults how to care about economic ideas. Patakis is publishing the title as an adult one, but intends it to have crossover appeal; the house will target readers 14 and up. George Pantsios at Patakis is handling all translation rights, while Wendy Strothman is handling world English rights. So far, the title has sold to Hanser in Germany; Rizzoli in Italy; Flammarion in France; Planeta & Grup 62 in Spain; and Kreativni Centar in Serbia.
Two Dutch Books Spark Global Interest
The California-based 2 Seas Agency is handling translation rights for two books originating out of the Netherlands that are getting attention abroad. Birk by Jaap Robben has been awarded the first Dutch Bookseller Award, receiving 25% of the booksellers' votes. Originally published by Dutch house De Geus in April 2014, the novel is currently in its 6th printing. Dutch publisher World Editions (which translates Dutch literature to English) has since acquired English rights in the Netherlands, while Ars Vivendi Verlag has acquired German rights. The novel follows Mikael, who lives with his parents on a small island between Scotland and Norway. When Mikael's father disappears into the sea, he keeps quiet about what happened. The author has written several books for children.
The second hot Dutch book 2 Seas is circulating, Attempts to Make Something Of Life: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, by Hendrik Groen, was originally published by Meulenhoff in June 2014. So far the book--a novel told through the diary entries of a man living in a retirement home north of Amsterdam--has sold 20,000 copies, and Dutch production company BlazHoffski/Dahl has acquired dramatic rights with plans to develop a TV drama.
Congolese Novel Gets Hot After French Praise
Tram 83, by Congolese poet and novelist Fiston Mwanza, has sold to a number of foreign publishers after the critical acclaim it received upon its French release by Ed. Metailié. The book, which was on the shortlist for the French Voices Award, is set in an African city in the Congo where foreigners are streaming in to work in the local mines. At night, the foreigners head out to Tram 83, the only nightclub in town. The novel focuses on a writer named Lucien who, fleeing censorship, arrives in the city to stay with his grifter friend, Requiem. The Pontas Agency controls rights, and deals have been made with Deep Vellum Publishing in the U.S.; De Bezige Bij in the Netherlands; Ramus in Sweden; Edizione Nottetempo in Italy; as well as to houses in the U.K., Australia and Germany.