Simon Winchester delves into the life story of an ocean, Francine Pascal revisits her Sweet Valley High twins, Philip K. Dick’s notes are opened up, and Anthony Bourdain returns to the kitchen. These are just a few of the literary goings-on among the titles the American agencies are shopping in London.
William Morris Endeavor
WME will be pushing the new one from Professor and the Madman author Simon Winchester. His The Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean, which Morrow is releasing in the U.S. in fall 2010 (and which HC has in the U.K.) is, according to the agency, an “epic nonfiction book” about the 200 million-plus-year-old water mass and our relationship with it. Still in proposal form is science writer Clive Thompson’s Outsmart, which Suzanne Gluck is representing. The book, as WME explains, shows how technology makes us smarter “by supercharging the way we think.” On the fiction front, there’s the sophomore novel from Jed Rubenfeld. The new book, which Riverhead is pubbing in March 2011 (and Headline is doing in the U.K.), picks up a decade after the close of Interpretation of Murder, in 1919, and again sets the three principal characters—doctors Freud, Jung, and (fictional) Younger—at the center of a mystery, this time in New York instead of London. (Headline is flying Rubenfeld to the fair.) From Jane Green, a new WME client, there’s Promises to Keep, about two sisters and their best friend; Viking is publishing in the U.S. in June, and Penguin is publishing in the U.K.
Foundry Literary + Media
On the fiction front, Foundry has Dan O’Malley’s The Rook (Little, Brown, spring 2011), a debut the agency likens to surreal literary thrillers like The Eyre Affair and The Raw Shark Texts. Then there’s Jenna Blum’s sophomore effort, The Stormchasers (Dutton, June), about brother-sister twins with a strange fascination with extreme weather. From All About Lulu author Jonathan Evison is West of Here (Algonquin, Feb. 2011). Evison’s buzzed-about debut, Lulu, was released by Soft Skull and won the Washington State Book Award. West is about the history of an American town and, as the agency expounds, “also a conversation between two epochs in American history—one speeding fearlessly toward its destiny, and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.” Then there’s Matt Stewart’s The French Revolution (July), a tragicomic novel about a San Francisco family “forging its place in history.” In nonfiction, Foundry has journalist Robert Lane Greene’s You Are What You Speak (Bantam, spring 2011), about the way language really works and what our misconceptions about it say about who we are. From Victoria Bruce, Karin Hayes, and Jorge Enrique Botero is Hostage Nation (Knopf, Aug.), about three American hostages held in the Colombian jungle for years, until their release in July 2008. (Bruce is an author, Botero a Colombian journalist, and Hayes a documentary filmmaker.)
With Curtis Brown agents handling ICM’s foreign rights, its highlights include Jennifer Egan’s new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Knopf, June), about an aging punk rocker turned music executive and the troubled woman who works for him; rights sold in the U.K. There’s Adrienne McDonnell’s debut novel, The Doctor and the Diva (Pamela Dorman Books, June), which follows a Harvard-educated obstetrician who develops an unorthodox relationship with an opera singer he’s treating. From Anna Quindlen is a novel about a family dealing with devastating realities resulting from everyday actions, Every Last One (Random House); rights sold in the U.K, France, and Holland. ICM also has Devil Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger’s Last Night at Chateau Marmont (Simon & Schustery), which has sold in the U.K., France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and Poland. Rounding out the agency’s fiction highlights is Graham Moore’s The Sherlockian (Twelve, Dec. 2010), about a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast drawn into a mystery surrounding the missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle; rights sold in France, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Thailand. On the nonfiction side, is Jonathan Alter’s The Promise (S&S, May), about Obama’s young administration; rights also with S&S UK. From authors of Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman, is Click (Doubleday, June), an examination of that elusive thing known as personal chemistry, the force that makes people “click” with each other; rights sold in the U.K. And from journalist Jay Kirk there’s Kingdom Under Glass (Holt, Oct.), about Carl Akeley, the explorer/taxidermist who shaped the way Americans perceive environmental conservation.
On the fiction front, WH has Megan Abbott’sThe End of Everything (Reagan Arthur Books), about a 13-year-old girl who puts on her Nancy Drew hat and tries to solve the mysterious disappearance of another girl, her supposed best friend; rights have sold in five territories. There’s Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran, the first in a series of thrillers featuring the titular, experienced PI; film rights have been optioned by Fremantle Entertainment (American Idol), and HMH is publishing stateside. From Dan Vyleta (Pavel and I) is The Quiet Twin, a political intrigue set in Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1939. From Ridley Pearson is Dead Drop, the first in a new series, about operatives who work for an international security firm that caters to high-profile corporate clients. Then there’s Francine Pascal’s new adult novel, Sweet Valley Confidential, which follows the later-in-life travails of the twin protagonists from the author’s bestselling 1980 YA series, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. On the nonfiction side, there’s Michael Lewis’s current bestseller, The Big Short (Norton, Mar.), about the U.S. economy’s recent drop-off; rights sold in seven markets. From Stephen Hawking is The Grand Design, the hotly awaited new book, written with Leonard Mlodinow (Drunkard’s Walk), which offers a new view of the origins of the universe; rights sold in 13 markets.
Sterling Lord Literistic
SL has Eleanor Henderson’s debut novel, Ten Thousand Saints (Ecco). Set in New York City in the late ’80s, it follows a teenage boy’s dangerous descent into the straight-edge movement following his best friend’s overdose. The book pulls in the story of other friends—and the dead boy’s family; editor Lee Boudreaux pre-empted in a major deal. From Norman Doidge is a currently untitled follow-up to his bestseller, The Brain That Changes Itself (Penguin, U.S. and Canadian rights); the title, through stories about extreme recoveries, explores new findings on neuroplasticity, the notion that the brain is malleable and not (as many scientists have posited) hardwired. On the YA side, the agency has Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright series, a just-sold trilogy set 100 years in the future that FSG Children’s acquired (U.S. and Canadian rights). The books follow a 16-year-old heiress of a crime family, struggling with the everyday pressures of high school in a world where it’s illegal for teens to use cellphones and chocolate and paper are contraband. The agency also has Stateless, the debut novel from David Bezmozgis (Natasha: And Other Stories), about Russian Jews in exile in Italy; FSG, which again has U.S. and Canadian rights, is planning a spring 2011 publication. From investigative journalist Sonia Shah is The Fever (Sara Crichton Books, July), which explores why malaria, a disease that, despite becoming a cause célèbre for personalities ranging from Laura Bush to Bono, still infects over 500 million people annually.
The Wylie Agency
The Wylie Agency is trotting out its usual list of bold-face literary names (living and dead), with Philip K. Dick, Roberto Bolaño, and Martin Amis topping the list. From Amis is The Pregnant Widow (Knopf, May), which has sold in a number of countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, and Italy. The agency has Bolaño’s Los sinsabores del verdadero policía (FSG), the novel from which both The Savage Detectives and 2666 were born; rights sold in Brazil, Canada, Portugal, and Spain. Wylie also has Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, culled from hundreds of handwritten notes and journal entries by the late sci-fi icon; the agency calls it a work that “charts Dick’s attempts to reconcile the diverse strands of scientific, philosophical, and theological thought” that inspired his writing, and it is edited and introduced by Jonathan Lethem and Pamela Jackson. Then there’s neuroscientist David Eagleman’s Brain Food (Sept. 2011), which ponders various questions ranging from “Do blind people see in their dreams?” to “Who is cursing at whom when you get angry at yourself?”; the agency calls it “Freakonomics for the brain.” The agency also has Henry Kissinger’s currently untitled book on China (Penguin Press, Nov.); historian Tony Judt’s look at how we got to this current confused moment in time, Ill Fares the Land (Penguin Press, Mar.); and Oliver Sacks’s The Mind’s Eye (Knopf, Oct.), which explores vision through six different case histories.
From John Banville, writing under his Benjamin Black pseudonym, there’s Elegy for April (Holt, Apr.), the third crime novel with hard-drinking Dublin pathologist Quirke; rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Spain. The agency also has the new thriller by bestseller Frederick Forsyth, The Cobra (Putnam, Aug.), about the man chosen by the White House, in 2011, to head a covert mission to bring down the international cocaine trade; rights sold in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland. The agency has Edna O’Brien’s Old Wounds (Little, Brown, spring 2011), the Irish author’s first short story collection since 1990; rights sold in the U.K. On the YA front is Brit William Hill’s debut, Department 19, the first book in a trilogy that Razorbill acquired at auction and is planning for January 2011. (HarperCollins pre-empted in the U.K.) The book—about a teenage boy who discovers, in the wake of his father’s murder and mother’s abduction, an underground government group that exterminates supernatural beings—is being billed by the agency as “Blade meets Men in Black.”
Russia will be the country of honor at the 2011 fair, and Trident has a few projects with ties to the former U.S.S.R. From authors Ben McCool and William Tucci is the graphic novel Alexander Nevsky, based on the classic film of the same name by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein. The title, which the agency likens to works like 300 and Gladiator (and is the first authorized book adaptation of the film), follows the titular warrior prince as he staves off the invading Teutonic knights; no rights sold. Then there’s Sergey Dyachenko’s science fiction novel The Scar, about a decorated soldier who kills his love interest’s fiancé and is left with a disfiguring facial scar; no rights have sold. Moving away from the Russian fare is Gayle Trent’s Killer Sweet Tooth (Gallery Books, Oct. 2011), about two dentists murdered in a small Southern town; per the agency, the book is the Stephanie Plum series meets Charlaine Harris (sans vampires). And from bestseller Elizabeth George is The Edge of Nowhere, the author’s first foray into the YA genre, and the first title in a planned eight-book series, about a mother and daughter on the run from their husband and stepfather (respectively) after he has used the daughter’s talent for hearing “whispers” to make significant sums of money; no rights sold.
Janklow & Nesbit
Among the big names the firm will be bringing is Laura Hillenbrand, whose Unbroken bows from RH in September. The Seabiscuit author’s new nonfiction work is about WWII war hero Louie Zamperini. Also on the nonfiction front, J&N has Sheena Iyengar’s The Art of Choosing (Twelve, Mar.), which examines how and why we make both life-altering and mundane choices; rights sold in five countries. On the fiction side is After the Darkness (HC, June), a new novel in the bestselling Sidney Sheldon Presents series by Tilly Bageshawe. From Ann Beattie there’s Walks with Men (Scribner, June), about a Harvard valedictorian who, in 1980s New York City, moves in with an older man. And from The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears author Dinaw Mengestu is How to Read the Air (Riverhead, Sept.), about immigrant Ethiopian newlyweds, and virtual strangers, who set off on a road trip to find their new, joint American identity.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
On the fiction front, SJGA has Brad Thor’s latest thriller, Foreign Influence (Atria, July), about a U.S. operative and a criminal dwarf who form an unlikely team to stop terrorists targeting tourists in Europe. There’s also Jim Nesbit’s noir, Windward Passage (Overlook, Apr.), which the agency calls a “gnarled mystery... with shades of Philip K. Dick and James Ellroy.” On the nonfiction side is rock biographer Stephen Davis’s LZ-75 (Gotham, fall 2010), a “memoir/tour journal” about Led Zeppelin’s 1975 U.S. tour from the bestselling author of Hammer of the Gods; rights sold in the U.K. From Philip Carlo is The Killer Within (Overlook, fall 2010), in which the bestselling true crime author writes about his battle with ALS; rights sold in the U.K. And from Eric Volz is Gringo Nightmare (St. Martin’s, May), the journalist’s firsthand account of being unjustly imprisoned for murder in a Nicaraguan jail.
From Carol Wiley Cassella there’s Healer (Simon & Schuster, Sept.), a medical drama in which a woman’s life is upended when her husband’s new business fails, and she’s forced to move to her family’s rural ranch and resurrect her medical skills. In Caribou Island (HarperCollins, Jan. 2011), Wallace Stegner fellow David Vann’s debut novel, a marriage unravels against the harsh backdrop of the Alaska wilderness. And in the thriller Savages (S&S, July), Don Winslow takes readers into the heart of California’s criminal underworld. On the nonfiction slate is Anthony Bourdain’s newest, Medium Raw (Ecco, June), which explores how the restaurant world has changed in the 10 years since the author’s first exposé, Kitchen Confidential. From Martin Seligman, there’s The Search for Well-Being (Free Press, 2011), in which the academic psychologist (and founder of the Positive Psychology movement) offers a new take on what makes people flourish.
The Gernert Company
Among the notable literary fiction titles Gernert will be selling is Leila Aboulela’s Lyrics Alley (Grove Atlantic, Jan. 2011); set in the 1950s at the beginning of Sudanese independence, the story follows a family torn between Sudan and Egypt. From Stewart O’Nan is Emily, Alone, about an aging and widowed mother and wife. The agency call the book a “heartbreaking” tale of “a middle-class, suburban everywoman.” There’s the debut novel that Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown recently won in a heated auction—Chad Barbach’s The Art of Fielding (Sept. 2011), about five varied people whose lives become linked by a random event. On the nonfiction side, the agency has alternate reality game designer Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Change the World (Penguin Press, winter 2011).
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
The big fiction title this West Coast boutique firm has in London is Adrienne Sharp’s The True Memoirs of Little K (FSG, Nov.), about a former Russian ballerina—who was the lover of the last czar (as well as three grand dukes)—reflecting on her life. In nonfiction, there’s Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir, done with what the agency calls “a poetic eye,” I Love a Broader Margin to My Life (Knopf, Jan. 2011); rights sold in the U.K. There’s also Gary Small’s The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head (HarperCollins, Oct.), in which the psychiatrist recounts some of his most unusual cases.
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
From Kristin McCloy is her first novel in over 10 years, Hollywood Savage (Atria, July), about a successful writer who, after he moves to Hollywood to adapt his latest work to the screen in a high profile project, is afflicted by intense anxiety and a cloying suspicion that his wife is having an affair with one of his students. Then there’s bestseller Phillip Margolin’s thriller, Supreme Justice (HarperCollins, May), involving a captain who is the sole survivor of a mutiny on his ship; rights sold in Brazil, China, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, and Spain. And from Karleen Koen is Before Versailles (Crown, summer 2011), a novel about a young Louis XIV, focusing on his first year ruling France, told in alternating voices from the point of view of the king, and his first love.
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
DGLM has two big YA series it’s selling at the fair: Amy Huntington’s Sleepwalking (book one’s out from HC in summer 2011), about a Brooklyn teen who moves to Paris and falls for a brooding French boy who happens to be a zombie-like creature. Then there’s Heather Brewer’s titles about a half-vampire half-boy, the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod (Dutton published book four in February). Rights to both series have sold in various territories. DGLM also has the stand-alone paranormal coming-of-age YA novel, A Need So Beautiful (Balzer & Bray, summer 2011) by Suzanne Young. On the adult front, there’s Elena Azzoni’s memoir, A Year Straight (Seal Press, 2012), an account about an established lesbian—she won the “Miss Lez” title two years running in a lesbian beauty pageant hosted by Murray Hill’s foremost drag queen—who starts dating men after being unexpectedly turned on by her yoga instructor. On the adult fiction front is Jennifer Schubert’s Broken, a debut thriller that the agency likens to works by Chelsea Cain and Gillian Flynn.
DeFiore and Company
The newly expanded agency has the buzzed-about-in-Frankfurt title from Benjamin Hale, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve, Feb. 2011), written as the autobiography of the world’s first talking chimp; rights sold in the U.K., Brazil, Holland, and Italy. Then there’s the bestselling Post Secret series (Morrow) by Frank Warren; rights sold in the U.K., Korea, the Netherlands, and Russia. From journalist Thomas Ryan is the memoir Following Atticus (Morrow, spring 2011), in which a gruff newsman has a life-changing experience when he tries to hike all of New Hampshire’s peaks with his miniature schnauzer; rights sold in the U.K., Italy, and Germany.