At the upcoming London Book Fair (April 12–14), U.S. agencies will be buzzing about titles from such perennial bestsellers as Lisa Scottoline, Thomas Friedman, and Neil Gaiman. They will be talking up a book about speech from Tom Wolfe, a novel by Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost, and more.
The agency’s top nonfiction pick is Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown, Mar.) by Matthew Desmond, who was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2015 for his work on poverty. Already a bestseller in the U.S., rights have been sold to South Korea and the U.K. Baror will also be touting a trio of big fiction, including a new and unusual book edited by Lawrence Block, In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper (Pegasus, Dec., and already sold in Germany and Italy). Block invited 17 writers, including Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, and Lee Child, to join him in this anthology of new stories. Next Is Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake (St. Martin’s/Dunne, Mar.), a psychological thriller in which a daughter’s brief disappearance spirals into a nightmare, with the parents coming under scrutiny. Rights have been sold to Germany, Italy, and Taiwan. Rounding out the trio is a new, as-yet-untitled installment in Robert Ludlum’s Bourne franchise, written by Eric Van Lustbader; it is being published in July by Grand Central to coincide with the release of a new film, Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon.
Elyse Cheney Literary Associates
A big title for Cheney is Imagination Works by Beth Comstock, the vice chairperson at General Electric and the first woman ever to hold that position. To be published by Crown in 2017, the book was, at press time, being sold in auctions in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.K. Comstock interweaves her own story with her philosophy of management, which she instituted at GE as a blueprint for anticipating change in our fast-moving world. Switching from business to pleasure is a humorous memoir by New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins, When in French: Love in a Second Language (Penguin Press, Sept.), about falling in love, learning another language, and living far from home. Next up is Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer (Ecco, June) by Arthur Lubow, who writes for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair. Aiming to be the definitive biography of the photographer, Lubow’s book draws from exclusive interviews with Arbus’s friends, lovers, and colleagues; previously unknown letters; and Lubow’s own critical understanding of photography; U.K. rights have been sold.
The Clegg Agency
Topping Clegg’s list is Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato (St. Martin’s, Feb. 2017), whose previous novel, Mathilda Savitch, won a PEN USA award and a B&N Discover Prize. This is the story of Edgar, a sensitive young boy starved of affection by his widowed mother who is drawn to a stranger; rights sold in France. The agency will also be talking up two books by Ottessa Moshfegh: the novel Eileen (Penguin, 2015), which won a PEN/Hemingway award and was an NBCC finalist (rights sold in France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the U.K. and film rights sold to Scott Rudin); and Homesick for Another World, a debut story collection of both new and previously published works from the New Yorker, Granta, and elsewhere. From Jean Stein, after a 30-year hiatus, comes the nonfiction West of Eden (Random House, Feb.), which offers an oral history depicting Hollywood and Los Angeles, told through the voices of a tycoon, a studio owner, an actress, and others. Also hot is Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block (Flatiron, 2017), a novel set in a small Texas town where an unthinkable tragedy strikes the local homecoming dance, leaving a 17-year-old paralyzed.
DeFiore and Company
A hot fiction title for the agency is Perennials (Random House, summer 2017), a debut by 28-year-old Mandy Berman, a Columbia M.F.A. student. Set at a summer camp in the Berkshires, the story follows two girls who met there as teenagers and return as counselors, chronicling their transition from adolescence to adulthood. Another debut, this time for the YA audience, is Love from the Funny Farm by Jenny Fran Davis (St. Martin’s, Apr. 2017), described as a “YA spin on Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” It is about, the agency said, identity, sex, friendship, and the bridges people cross and burn as they grow. On the nonfiction front is The Cheese Trap by Neal Barnard (Grand Central, spring 2017), which points to cheese as a key cause of weight gain. Bernard presents his research on the addictive nature of cheese caseins, shows how simple changes can improve health, and offers dozens of recipes. Another lead nonfiction title is Will’s Red Coat, a memoir by Tom Ryan, the author of Following Atticus, in which he recalls his time with a deathly ill, gruff old dog who springs back to life when treated with love and respect. Morrow will publish in October and rights have been sold in the U.K.
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
The agency will be chatting up science journalist and BBC columnist Rachel Nuwer’s The World Without Wildlife (Da Capo, spring 2018). Described as “Silent Spring meets The Hot Zone,” it looks at the people on the front lines of the battle against the illegal wildlife trade, the consequences for us and our planet if they fail, and the forces driving the demand. Also topping DGLM’s list is Rise by Cara Brookin (St. Martin’s, winter 2017), a memoir from a single mother who, after three failed marriages and two dangerous men, built her own house from the foundation up with the help of her children. Another memoir is Joanna Connor’s I Will Find You, in which the author, an investigative journalist, delves into the story of her own rape. Grove will publish in April, and rights have been sold in the U.K. Topping the agency’s fiction list is a debut thriller, Other People’s Daughters by Amy Gentry, a book reviewer for the Chicago Tribune and author of a forthcoming book about Tori Amos. When a young woman reappears after her kidnapping eight years earlier with a story that doesn’t add up, her mother suspects she may not, in fact, be her daughter. The novel was preempted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (pub date to be determined) and sold to 13 countries, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K.
Foundry Literary & Media
A hot title for Foundry is The Girl on the Velvet Swing: The Murder of Stanford White by Simon Baatz (Little, Brown, 2018), a meticulously researched, novelistic account of a sensational true crime. In 1906 at Madison Square Garden, White was killed by Harry Thaw, a playboy millionaire, after Thaw discovered that the world-renowned architect was having an affair with his wife. Another top pick for Foundry is Pursuit of Endurance by Jennifer Pharr Davis (PRH, summer 2017). The author is a record-holding speed hiker, and the book grew out of an essay she wrote for the New York Times about the absence of a gender gap in long-distance hiking. The article went viral, reaching approximately 10 million people. The agency is also over the moon about Spaceman by former NASA astronaut Mike Massimo (Crown Archetype, Oct.), which recounts his quest to realize his dream of space travel after watching the movie The Right Stuff as a kid. Then there’s The Tao of Kamau (Dutton, 2017) a book of personal, topical essays from comedian and TV personality W. Kamau Bell, who the New York Times called “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.”
The Gernert Company
Leading the list at Gernert is Sleeping Giants, a debut novel by a linguist and translator in Montreal, Sylvain Neuvel (Ballantine, Apr.), which has been sold to publishers in Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and the U.K. Gernert says the book is in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian; it begins with a young girl who, after falling into a hole in the woods, is saved by firemen who find her “sitting in the palm of a giant metal hand.” Years later the girl leads a team out to “crack the code of this mysterious artifact.” A different kind of thriller is Brighton by Michael Harvey (Ecco, June); it follows two friends growing up in a rapidly changing Boston who must face the sins of their past amid a series of brutal murders. Also high on Gernert’s list is Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia (Atria/Bestler, Jan. 2017), a psychological mystery set in a small town where a high school senior, her attractive young teacher, and the town’s sheriff battle for the truth behind a girl’s murder. Rights have been sold to, Brazil, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Taiwan, and the U.K.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
The folks at SJGA are jazzed about Foreign Agent, a new thriller from Brad Thor (Atria/Bestler, June). When a clandestine American ops team readies to go after ISIS’s head of social media, their safe house is attacked and counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath is caught in the crossfire. Another hot title from Emily Bestler, coming in August, is The Regulars by Georgia Clark. In the book, three young women who are trying to make it in New York discover a magic potion that makes them, temporarily, gorgeous. Another fiction pick is The Forgetting Moon, the first book in a trilogy called Five Warrior Angels by Brian Lee Durfee (S&S/Saga, Aug.). In this fantasy series, a young orphan boy must unravel the mystery of his true identity in order to begin his quest to save the kingdom from a bloody crusade. Also being talked up by SJGA is Brave Little Finn, the second book in the children’s series Sweet Pea & Friends by John Churchman and Jennifer Churchman (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Oct.). The series began with a self-published picture book called The SheepOver that Little, Brown acquired and turned into a bestseller.
ICM Partners (handled by Curtis Brown)
ICM will be buzzing about Ann Patchett’s new book, Commonwealth (Harper, Sept.). A sprawling drama involving two families is set in motion at a christening party for a detective’s daughter when an uninvited guest from the DA’s office shows up. It will be published simultaneously in the U.K. by Bloomsbury. Another hot title is Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple, the author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?; it follows a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, forced to abandon her small ambitions when she wakes up to a strange, new future. In the nonfiction arena is Thank You for Being Late: How to Find a Job, Rule a Country, and Keep Your Head in an Age of Acceleration by Thomas Friedman, the triple Pulitzer Prize–winning author and New York Times columnist (FSG, Nov.). CB said the book is a guide for navigating “one of the greatest inflection points in the history of the world.” Also being touted is Things Falling Apart: A Short History of the Present from Rousseau to ISIS by Pankaj Mishra (FSG, 2017), whose most recent work is the award-winning From the Ruins of Empire. Here he presents an explanation, the agency said, of “the universal bellicosity plaguing modern society.” Rights have been sold to the U.K.
At the top of the fiction heap for Inkwell is Proving Ground by Edgar award–winning author Peter Blauner (Minotaur, 2017). The agency says the book has “the grit and detail of Richard Price and the propulsion of Lee Child”; it’s an urban thriller about a homicide that turns into a young man’s quest to avenge his father’s death. Next on Inkwell’s hit parade is The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047 by Lionel Shriver (Harper, June), the Orange Prize–winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Set in a near-future America amid a fiscal crisis, three generations of Mandibles must cope with the disappearance of the fortune they were counting on. Rights to the book have been sold in France, South Korea, and Spain. In nonfiction, the agency is excited about The Aesthetics of Joy by Ingrid Fetell Lee (Little, Brown, 2018); rights already sold in Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Holland, Israel, Portugal, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, and the U.K. Drawing on new research from neuroscience and psychology, Lee posits, as Inkwell put it, that human beings are capable of “designing our own happiness,” and she examines the ways in which “small changes to our surroundings can lead to happier... lives.” Then there’s Next Is Time Travel by science chronicler James Gleick (Pantheon, Sept.), a nonfiction exploration of a favorite conceit of fiction. Gleick explores time travel’s origins, evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself. Rights have been sold to Spain.
Janklow & Nesbit
The agency is excited about The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt (Harper, Apr.). In what the agency describes as “a forthright and deeply personal collection,” mother and son offer musings on family, life, death, forgiveness, fame, and perseverance. Also on J&N’s list is Tom Wolfe’s The Kingdom of Speech (Little, Brown, Aug.), in which the author argues that it is speech, not evolution, that is responsible for humanity’s complex societies and achievements. A new book from Delia Ephron leads J&N’s fiction list. Siracusa is a psychological thriller set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea (Penguin/Blue Rider, July) and is a meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. Next up is The Mortifications by Derek Palacio (Crown/Duggan, Oct.), a novel about a woman named Soledad Encarnación, who, with her twins, flees Cuba in 1980 to find a better life in New England, only to see her family drawn back to their homeland.
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
One of the agency’s top picks is Every Kind of Wanting (Counterpoint, Sept.), a novel by Gina Frangello offering a portrait of the American family as seen through three Chicago couples struggling with money, fertility, and fidelity. The agency is also jazzed about Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker (Grand Central, summer 2017), in which Charlotte Brontë’s Edward Fairfax Rochester tells his story in his own words. The Telling by Zoe Zolbrod (Curbside Splendour, May) is one of the agency’s top nonfiction pick. The critically acclaimed novelist traces the development of her sexuality, her relationships with men, and motherhood in the context of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. For younger readers there’s A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Jan. 2017). The novel follows 16-year-old Mel Hannigan as she grapples with bipolar disorder.
Jane Rotrosen Agency
Leading the way for Rotrosen is Iris Johanson’s Night & Day (St. Martin’s, July), the final installment in her trilogy featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan. Also being talked up is In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer, May), the next book in the Tracy Crosswhite series. Another big title for the agency is The Island House by Nancy Thayer (Ballantine, May), about a 29-year-old college professor who vacations on Nantucket every summer and, the agency said, “finds herself caught between two different lifestyles and two very different men.” Last but not least is Daniel Palmer’s standalone thriller Forgive Me (Kensington, May); it’s about a young private investigator trying to find a teenage runaway while uncovering secrets about her own family’s past.
Trident Media Group
A new novel from T. Jefferson Parker is front and center for Trident. Described by the agency as a “modern day Heart of Darkness,” The Room of White Fire (no U.S. publisher yet) is the story of an emotionally fragile PI tasked with finding a mentally ill USAF veteran who has escaped from a mental institution. Trident is also excited about Damaged by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s, Aug.), the fourth volume in her Rosato & DiNunzio series. In this addition to the series, attorney DiNunzio’s wedding plans are in jeopardy when she becomes emotionally embroiled in a case in which her client is a traumatized middle-school student. Next is Jane Two (Hachette/Center Street, Apr.), a coming-of-age debut from actor, director, and writer Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints). Trident says the author explores “that powerful first taste of love that sets the bar for something that we’ll chase, usually unsuccessfully for the rest of our lives.” Then there is Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig (Grove/Atlantic, spring 2017), a novel based on the author’s mother’s and grandparents’ lives, from colonial Rangoon through WWII and into the first decades of the long-running civil war in Burma. Trident is handling the U.K. rights; translation rights will be sold by Grove.
A hot title from Ed Victor is the first authorized history of Britain’s secret special forces unit, the SAS, from London Times columnist and associate editor Ben Macintyre. Rogue Heroes (Crown, Oct.), which will be published simultaneously in the U.S. and in the U.K., chronicles David Stirling’s radical plan to establish an undercover unit of ruthless soldiers during WWII, which Winston Churchill gave him permission to do. Also sizzling is The Secret History of Twin Peaks (Flatiron, Oct.), a novel by Mark Frost, the co-creator of the landmark television series. The book places the unexplained phenomena that unfolded in Twin Peaks in a layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the finale. Rights have been sold to Brazil, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the U.K. The agency will also tout A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson (FSG, June); the author is the granddaughter of the English poet Vita Sackville-West and the English diplomat Harold Nicholson, as well as the daughter of English writer Nigel Nicolson. In her novel, Nicolson takes us through seven generations of women, from the 19th-century slums of Malaga, the salons of fin-de-siècle Washington, D.C., and World War II to New York City in the 1980s. Another big novel is Spirit Mission by Ted Russ, a West Point graduate who served as an officer and helicopter pilot for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment in Iraq. He crafts the story of Army Lt. Col. Sam Avery, who knows he is flying his last mission; he and his crew will either be shot down by ISIS or face a courtmartial when they return.
Writers House is singing the praises of Homeward Bound (Holt, Nov.), the first major biography of Paul Simon; it’s by Peter Ames Carlin, who wrote a Bruce Springsteen bio that was translated into 14 languages. Carlin traces Simon’s story from the Brill Building through his days with Art Garfunkel, and into his solo career. Next on the agency’s hit list is The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (Morrow, May), which gathers more than 60 essays from the Newbery, Carnegie, and Hugo award winner. The collection, spanning Gaiman’s career from his days as a young journalist in London to recent speeches, was hailed by Junot Díaz as “a glorious love-letter to reading, to writing, to dreaming, to an entire genre.” Rounding out Writers House’s top picks is Thomas Mullen’s Darktown, a police procedural set in the deep South in 1948, when two newly hired black cops investigate the brutal murder of a black woman. Darktown (Atria/37 Ink, Sept.)is part of a two-book deal and has been selected as a BEA Buzz Panel book. It has been optioned by Sony TriStar Pictures, with Amy Pascal and Jamie Fox as producers; U.K. rights have been sold.
The Wylie Agency
Riding high at Wylie is Heidi Julavits’ How to Raise a Rapist, sold to Crown in a pre-empt (delivery is expected in August 2017), and described as “a polemic to advance a crucial conversation on parenting and feminism.” A college professor surrounded by conversations about rape culture on campuses, Julavits posits that by the time the issue is raised on campus, the intervention is too late. Another nonfiction title Wylie is confident will resonate is a debut from Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah (Scibner), who writes for a number of publications including Rolling Stone, the Paris Review and the New York Times Magazine. In The Explainers and the Explorers she sets out to identify how black America will define itself in the 21st century by building upon individual stories from such notables as Toni Morrison, Assata Shakur, and Serena Williams. Next is Il Est Avantageux D’Avoir Où Aller by Emmanuel Carrère (FSG), which was published in France in February. It collects 25 years of nonfiction writings in which Carrère looks at our shared humanity by exploring the lives of artists and writers, including himself. A top fiction title is Transit by Rachel Cusk (FSG), as well as in Canada, China, Germany, and the U.K. In this story of a writer who moves to London with her two young sons after a family collapse, Cusk delves into themes of childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the mystery of change, and moral problems of personal responsibility.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Emmanuel Carrère's Il Est Avantageux D’Avoir Où Aller has been sold in the U.S., as has the currently untitled debut by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. Also, Ottessa Moshfegh’s name was misspelled. When in French: Love in a Second Language is being published by Penguin Press, not Crown. In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni was originally listed with a pub date of May 2017; it is being released this coming May. And Spaceman is being published by Crown Archetype, not Viking.