French Debut Spurs Auctions
French publisher JC Lattès will release the debut novel Je Suis La (I Am Still Here), by 29-year-old Clélie Avit, on June 1. The book, which has begun to draw significant international attention, recently sold in a six-house auction in Germany to Maria Runge at Goldmann/Random House. Mondadori has just won an auction for the novel in Italy, and Xander in Holland. As of press time, there were ongoing auctions in Spain, Poland, and Turkey. The novel, which is being compared to work by John Green, is about the unusual relationship that develops between two people in their 30s, one of whom is in the hospital. Elsa has been unconscious since her accident. At her hospital, fellow patient Thibault, stumbles into her room one day by accident. After settling in for a nap, he strikes up a conversation with her, even though she's unresponsive. The talks continue, and he begins to develop an unexpected bond with her. JC Lattès control all rights.
Austrian Drag Queen's Book Picks Up Sales
Conchita Wurst, the Austrian bearded drag queen who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 (which took place in Copenhagen and featured entrants from 37 countries), will be on the show floor at next week's London Book Fair. Wurst, the pop singer alter ego of Thomas Neuwirth, will be signing copies of her buzzed-about forthcoming book Being Conchita: We Are Unstoppable, which John Blake Publishing controls world English language rights to, and will publish in May 2015. The book has been drawing interest of late, and a number of other houses have acquired translation rights. Among others, deals have closed with Mondadori in Italy; Archipel in France; and Langen Muller in Germany. Christine Proske at Ariadne Buch controls all rights, with the exception of U.S., Canada, and Australia, which are being handled by Barbara J. Zitwer.
Reyes' Memoir to Become Penguin Classic
John Siciliano at Penguin USA has acquired world English rights to the Spanish-language title The Book of Emma Reyes (Memoria por correspondencia), and is planning to publish the memoir in hardcover as part of the Penguin Classics collection. Reyes, an artist who was born in Colombia in 1919 and died in 2003, learned how to read and write as an adult. The book, written as 23 letters, recounts her childhood in Bogota, from her early years as an orphan living in poverty through her teenage years, which she spent in a convent that took in abandoned children. Bogota-based publisher Laguna Libros first published the book in 2012, and Barcelona-based Casanovas & Lynch Agencia Literaria S.L. control all rights. Houses that have already acquired translation rights include Companhia das Letras in Brazil; Karaat in Holland; Zikit Books in Israel; as well as publishers in Colombia, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
'90s Korean Novel Lands at Pegasus
A backlist novel by Korean author Kyung-sook Shin (Please Look After Mom) was recently acquired by Jessica Case, at Pegasus Books, in a world English rights deal. The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness was sold by agent Barbara J. Zitwer, who controls world rights. First published in Korea in 1995 by Munhakdongne, the novel won Korea's Manhae Prize in 1996. It was published in 2009 in France by Philippe Picquier. An autobiographical novel, the work chronicles the author's teenage years during which she worked in a factory in order to earn a government scholarship to attend night school. The English translation of the book was supported by grants from the PEN American Center and the Korea Literature Translation Institute.
Acclaimed Taiwanese Author Signs New Deal
Taiwan's Rye Field Publications is releasing the latest book by Wu Ming-Yi, The Stolen Bicycle. Wu was recently published in English; his novel, The Man With the Compound Eyes, was released by Pantheon in the States in March, and by Harvill Secker in the UK. His new novel, which features elements of magical realism, follows a writer named Cheng who published a book about his father's disappearance. When Cheng receives a message from a reader asking if his father's bicycle disappeared as well, he decides to look for the bicycle. The hunt for the bicycle leads Cheng to unexpected discoveries. Gray Tan at the Grayhawk Agency controls world rights to the novel.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Je Suis La (I Am Still Here) is not about two teenagers but, rather, two people in their 30s.