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What will the American agents be pushing in the rights tent? Among this year's offerings are Martin Amis's "most ferocious antihero," Nelson Mandela's journals, John Grisham's latest Confession, David Bowie's stuff, Jon Stewart's guide to Earth (and Earthlings), and Ken Follett's Giants.
Curtis Brown/Gelfman Schneider
Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider is handling Peggy Hesketh's Telling the Bees (Putnam, summer 2011), a literary mystery narrated by an 80-something beekeeper. CB also has Melanie Gideon's debut, Wife 22 (Ballantine, fall 2010), about a woman in the throes of a midlife crisis who has a reawakening after participating in an anonymous survey about marital satisfaction; rights sold in France and Holland. From Suzanne Ruta is To Algeria, with Love, about an American woman who meets an Algerian man while studying abroad in the south of France in 1961 and tries to reconnect with him decades later to heal old wounds; rights sold in Italy and the U.K. From Cornell physics professor Paul McEuen, who the agency calls "one of the leading researchers in nanoscience," is the debut thriller, Spiral (Dial, Mar. 2011), about a professor racing against the clock to stop the spread of a deadly bioweapon; rights sold in Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Russia, Spain, the U.K., and other countries. The agency also has Nelson Mandela's Conversations with Myself (FSG, Oct. 2010), his collection of personal papers; rights have sold in various countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, and the U.K.
DeFiore & Co.
The agency has the first novel from My Fair Lazy and Such a Pretty Fat author Jen Lancaster, Apocalypse House (NAL, spring 2011). From crime writer Jason Starr is The Pack (Berkley/Ace, summer 2011), the first book in a new paranormal series. There's Dr. Neal Barnard's The 21-Day Weight-Loss Kickstart (Grand Central, spring 2011), which is tied to a PBS special. The agency is also still selling foreign rights to one of the buzzed-about books from last year's fair, Benjamin Hale's debut, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve, Feb. 2011), aka the chimp memoir; rights have sold in China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the U.K. And from Tom Ryan is Following Atticus (Morrow, fall 2011), a memoir in which a former journalist tries to climb all of New Hampshire's peaks with his miniature schnauzer.
Sandra Dijkstra Literary
The California agency has Adrienne Sharp's True Memoirs of Little K (FSG, Nov. 2010), a novel that tells the story of the fictional Mathilde Kschessinka, the mistress of the last czar; rights sold in Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. From Lisa See is Dreams of Joy (Random House, June 2011), which picks up where the author's bestselling 2009 novel, The Shanghai Girls, left off. From Cosmo editor-in-chief Kate White is The Sixes (Harper, fall 2011), about a teacher whose job turns deadly when bodies and secrets start bubbling up in the sleepy town where she's just moved. The agency also has Andrew Cooper's Oil Kings (S&S, May 2011), in which the author used information found in the previously classified papers of Brent Scowcroft—who worked on national security issues for Nixon, Ford, and Bush—to piece together "the puzzle of the connection between U.S. oil diplomacy, the fall of the Shah and the rise of theocracy there." From comics artist and journalist Ted Rall is The Afghan Notebook (Hill and Wang, fall 2011), in which the author chronicles his most recent trip to Afghanistan, 10 years after he first visited for his graphic travelogue, To Afghanistan and Back.
Dystel & Goderich
On the adult side, D&G has Raziel (Pocket, Jan. 2011), a debut by Kristina Douglas featuring a sexy, fallen angel; rights sold in Thailand. On the nonfiction side the agency will be pushing The Arrogance Cycle (Globe Pequot, late 2011/early 2012), Michael Farr's look at superiority and "the presumptuous claims that accompany boom periods and precipitate busts." The agency has three big YA titles: the graphic novel series being adapted from Richelle Mead's bestselling Vampire Academy books (Grosset & Dunlap, spring 2011). Then there's Emma Carlson Berne's Still Waters, a thriller by the author of Hard to Get. And from Emily Wing Smith is Back When You Were Easier to Love (Dutton, Apr. 2011), about a high schooler trying to deal with a sudden breakup.
Foundry Literary + Media
Foundry will be shopping Ernie Cline's Ready Player One (Crown, Sept. 2011), in which the world's wealthiest man and owner of an online gaming company dies, leaving an "Easter egg" in one of his multiplayer online games so that the person who finds it will inherit his fortune. The agency calls the novel "Willy Wonka set in the gamer world of the future"; rights sold in Brazil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, and deals pending in France and the U.K. From Kevin Fox is Notes for the Next Time (Algonquin, winter 2011), about a 21-year-old Irish-American slacker who's compelled to research his family history after his long-lost uncle, a former NYPD cop, leaves him his journal. From Dan O'Malley is The Rook (Little, Brown, spring 2011), which follows a woman who comes to in a London rainstorm having lost her memory and holding a mysterious letter that begins: "The body you are wearing used to be mine"; rights sold in China, Italy, and Taiwan. On the nonfiction front the agency has Michael Erard's Babel No More (Free Press, Jan. 2012), which explores how hyperpolyglots, aka "massive multilinguals," can do what they do; Foundry says the book is "part scientific detective story, part travelogue, and part valentine to anyone who's ever studied a foreign language." From Grant Morrison is Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero (Spiegel & Grau, June 2011), in which the one-time writer of Superman and Batman explores the premise that superheroes have become our modern-day Greek gods; rights sold in Italy and the U.K.. On the YA front, Foundry has Jack Ferraiolo's Sidekicks (Abrams/Amulet Books, spring 2011), a middle-grade novel told from the perspective of superhero Phantom Justice's sidekick, Bright Boy. And from Lauren Oliver is Delirium (Harper, Feb. 2011), the first title in a trilogy that's been pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Brave New World and is set in a world where love is considered a disease and every 18-year-old endures a procedure to have the ability to feel the emotion removed; rights sold in China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Taiwan, and the U.K.
The Gernert Company
The agency will be shopping a new one from one of its biggest clients, John Grisham, selling rights to The Confession (Doubleday, Oct. 2010). From Hillary Jordan is Red (Algonquin, fall 2011), a dystopian novel inspired by The Scarlet Letter from the author of Mudbound. Then there's Sarah Kate Lynch's Dolci di Love (Plume, May 2011), about, as the agency puts it, "love, loss, marriage, affairs, babies, sisters, mothers, cantucci, and the most crotchety bunch of matchmakers you've ever encountered." From Peter Behrens is Calling Me Through Thunder (Pantheon), a family saga set during the first half of the 20th century; Canadian rights sold. And from Paul Harper is Pacific Heights (Holt, summer 2011), the first in a series of psychological thrillers set in San Francisco and featuring the intelligence operative Marten Fane; rights sold in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the U.K. and British Commonwealth. On the nonfiction side is game designer Jane McGonigal's Reality Is Broken (Penguin Press, Jan. 2011), a take on how "we can harness the power of games to solve real world problems."
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
On the fiction front, SJGA has Brad Thor's The Athena Project (Atria, Nov. 2010), the first thriller in a new series about an all-female team recruited and trained for dangerous international assignments. From the author of The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss, is The Wise Man's Fear (DAW, Mar. 2011), a sequel in his series the Kingkiller Chronicles. The agency also has Nancy Jensen's The Sisters (St. Martin's, spring 2011), a debut novel that follows three generations in one family. On the nonfiction side, is journalist Rick Newman's Rebounders: The New Rules for Success in the 21st Century (Ballantine, spring 2012), which is being filed under business/self-help and offers interviews with top executives on how to bounce back from mistakes and setbacks in the workplace. Then there's Chris Paine's Revenge of the Electric Car (Norton, summer 2011), a book from the writer/producer of the 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? about the electric vehicle movement; rights sold in Japan. On the YA front, the agency has Ann Redisch Stampler's Totaled (Simon Pulse, spring 2012), which is set in Beverly Hills and follows a girl who crashed her boyfriend's car after a wild night, she thinks, since she can't remember what actually happened.
ICM (handled by Curtis Brown)
Among the agency's big books is Laura Kasischke's The Raising (HC, Jan. 2011; Atlantic UK is releasing as Sweet Things). Kasischke, who teaches at the University of Michigan's M.F.A. program, follows a group of sorority sisters in a small New England town; ICM says the novel is "part Stephen King and part Donna Tartt." From Ann Patchett is State of Wonder (HC, June 2011), about two female physicians in the Amazon jungle; the agency calls the novel a "Conrad-inspired masterwork"; rights sold in the U.K. Then there's Siri Hustvedt's The Summer Without Men (Picador, May 2011), a novel about the dissolution of a once-happy marriage, by the wife of Paul Auster; rights sold in Canada, the U.K., Spain, Denmark, Germany, and other countries. From newcomer Mike Olson is Strange Flesh (S&S, 2012), about a hacker hired to find a man who's supposedly disappeared into an alternate reality game he created. On the nonfiction front, the agency has Francis Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order, Vol. 1 (FSG, Apr. 2011), which it calls "a sweeping account of how today's basic political institutions developed"; rights sold in the U.K. and Holland. And from Tom Bissell is Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (Pantheon, June 2010), the journalist's inquiry into why video games, despite being so addictive, fall short as "creative artifacts."
Trotting out a number of nonfiction titles, Inkwell will be pushing Martin Seligman's Flourish (Free Press, Apr. 2011), an investigation into the academic psychologist's theory about what makes people flourish. From Gabrielle Hamilton is Blood, Bones & Butter (RH, Mar. 2011), a memoir from an up-and-coming chef about, among other things, growing up in New Jersey with a French mother and bohemian father. Then there's James Gleick's The Information (Pantheon, Feb. 2011), a look at how "information has become the modern era's defining quality" from the bestselling author of Chaos and Genius. And from Julie Haas-Brophy is Sh*t My Kids Ruined (Ballantine, winter 2011), a humorous collection of anecdotes and pictures based on the popular blog of the same name. On the fiction side the agency has Tara Hudson's debut YA novel, Hereafter (HC, summer 2011), about an 18-year-old who, in the afterlife, wanders the mountains of southeastern Oklahoma reliving the last moments of her life. From Helen Benedict is Sand Queen (Soho Press, fall 2011), about two women whose lives are forever altered by the Iraq War. And from Don Winslow writing as Trevanian is Satori (Grand Central, Mar. 2011), a prequel to the author's bestselling Shibumi, which the agency calls one of the "classic thrillers of the 20th century."
Janklow & Nesbit
Among its big fiction titles, J&N has the debut short story collection from Iowa Writers' Workshop M.F.A. Stuart Nadler, The Book of Life (LB/Reagan Arthur, Sept. 2011); rights sold in France and Germany. There's Ismet Prcic's debut, Shards (Grove Atlantic, 2011), about two Bosnian friends, one who escapes the war with a traveling theater group and the other who stays behind; Prcic is the 2010 recipient of an NEA fellowship for fiction. Then there's Anne Rice's Of Love and Evil (Knopf, Nov. 2010), the second title in the author's bestselling Songs of the Seraphim series. On the nonfiction side the agency has Bryan Charles's There's a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From (Open City/Grove Books, Nov. 2010), the author's coming-of-age account of his arrival in New York from the Midwest and the turn his life took after he started a job at Morgan Stanley in the south tower of the World Trade Center, days before 9/11. From MariNaomi is Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0-22 (Harper Perennial, Mar. 2011), a graphic memoir from the single-moniker artist and writer in which she explores everything from her parents' interracial marriage to her questions about her sexuality. From Amy Chua is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Penguin Press, Jan. 2011), a memoir about parenting by a Chinese-American mother (and Yale law professor) that exposes the "secrets and pitfalls of Asian-style parenting for success"; rights sold in 10 countries. J&N also has Alex Ross's Listen to This (FSG, Sept. 2010), an essay collection from the New Yorker music critic.
Sterling Lord Literistic
SLL will be shopping the debut novel from David Bezmozgis, The Free World, which FSG is publishing in the States and HC in Canada. Like the author's short-story collection Natasha, the novel follows Russian Jews living in exile, here in Italy. According to the agency, the book's "a moving and warm portrait of families trying to prepare for the future." From Annia Ciezadlo is a memoir about creating a home and a life in war-torn Baghdad and Beirut, Day of Honesty (Free Press); rights sold in Canada. In Kristin Kimball's The Dirty Life (Scribner, U.S. and Canada), which the agency dubs "part memoir and part food writing," a 32-year-old New York City writer relocates to the Hudson Valley and falls in love with farming, then with a farmer. From Judy Dutton is Science Fair Season (Hyperion), in which the journalist follows a handful of teens competing at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, where 1,500 high schoolers compete for more than $4 million in prizes and scholarships. Then there's Pulitzer Prize–winner Matt McAllester's The Bravest Spy (Bloomsbury has world English rights), about the Polish operative Witold Pilecki, who had himself put in Auschwitz and spent two years there before escaping, so that he could report on what was actually happening in the concentration camp. In Maile Chapman's Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto (Graywolf, U.S. and Canada), which is being touted as "a cross between The Shining and Magic Mountain," an American nurse at a remote Finnish hospital in the 1920s is unsettled when routines are interrupted by the introduction of a controversial new medical technique. Your Presence was longlisted for the Guardian first book prize. And from Wade Davis is The Mallory Expedition (Knopf), a "superb, idiosyncratic" history of George Mallory's famous doomed attempt to summit Everest in the 1920s.
William Morris Endeavor
WME will be talking up Sarah Lewis's Rise: The Power of Failure in Pursuit of Success, which Jon Karp and Ben Loehnen at Simon & Schuster pre-empted from Eric Simonoff last week. The agency says the book "aims to let us approach failure as a natural part of success" and follows "the story that neuroscience, psychology, and biography are telling us about human capacity." Lewis—who has degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Oxford—has curated for the Tate Modern and MOMA. From Yale University Press director John Donatich is The Variations, a novel about a New Haven priest who, as he approaches midlife, sees his parish mirroring the problems facing the Catholic Church; the book is on submission in the States. WME also has Hector Tobar's novel, Barbarian Nursery (FSG, spring 2011), a take on L.A. that the agency calls "a 21st-century Angeleno Bonfire of the Vanities" by the former Buenos Aires and Mexico City bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. Another nonfiction entry for WME is Duncan Watts's Everything Is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer (Doubleday), in which the Yahoo! Research scientist will examine "why we believe we know so much about how we think and act—as individuals and groups—and why this confidence routinely leads to misperceptions, misunderstandings, and failed plans"; rights sold in the U.K.
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
Naggar has MacArthur winner Carl Safina's Blowout (Crown, spring 2011) about the BP disaster. Safina is head of the Blue Ocean Institute, and the agency says the title is "the definitive book about the short- and long-term repercussions of this century's Chernobyl." From Sandra Worth is Pale Rose of England (Berkley, Feb. 2011), a historical novel about Lady Catherine and her marriage to the duke of York; Worth has written five other historical novels, including The King's Daughter. From Ellis Avery is The Last Nude (Riverhead, spring 2011), a novel set in Paris about an artist named Tamara Lepinke and the young American, Raffaela, who becomes her model; Avery won a Lambda Literary Award for her 2007 novel, The Teahouse Fire. Then there's Lisa Catherine Harper's A Double Life (Univ. of Nebraska Press, spring 2011), which the agency calls a "personal, factual and literary" look at first-time motherhood; rights sold in Taiwan.
Trident Media Group
Among the big titles Trident will be pushing in the rights tent is Kevin Bohacz's Immortality, which the author self-published in 2007 and which has, per the agency, become an Amazon bestseller. The thriller follows a frightening trend in which small extinctions are happening in remote pockets of the globe. From Lynda Hilburn is The Vampire Shrink, about a Denver psychologist looking to shake up her life who's pulled into the vampire underworld by a client, where she meets a handsome 800-year-old vampire. Though the agency couldn't provide many details on it, it's shopping the new one from Michael Ondaatje, The Cat's Table (Knopf); rights sold in Canada. Then there's the graphic novel Nevsky, based on Sergei Eisenstein's film of the same name, by Ben McCool with art by William Tucci; McCool has written DC's Justice League and Tucci is the creator of Shi. From T. Jefferson Parker is The Border Lords (Dutton, Jan. 2011), another in the author's series featuring cop Charlie Hood, who must infiltrate the Baja drug cartel to find out if his friend, an ATF agent who's gone dark, has slipped deeper undercover or has lost his moral compass. Trident also has the new one from Jon Stewart, Earth (the Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central, Sept. 2010); as with his bestselling America (the Book), Stewart is tackling his large subject with the staffers of The Daily Show, and rights have sold in the U.K. The agency also has Dick Van Dyke's memoir, The Dick Van Dyke Book (Harmony, May 2011).
The agency will be shopping Eoin Colfer's new adult novel, Plugged (Overlook, Aug. 2011), a noir from the bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl books about an Irishman in New Jersey who gets pulled into "a world of murder, kidnapping and corrupt cops"; rights sold in the U.K. From Ranulph Fiennes is Killer Elite (Ballantine movie tie-in), an adventure story about secret organizations—one a group of contract killers and the other a group of ex-soldiers—that was originally published in the '90s as The Feather Men. The book is the basis for a summer 2011 film starring Robert De Niro and Clive Owen; rights sold in the U.K. The agency has Londoner Benedict Jacka's debut adult novel, Maje Wars, the first title in a new fantasy series; rights sold in the U.K. From Ireland's first laureate for children's literature, Siobhan Parkinson, is her first adult novel, Painted Ladies, a based-on-true-events tale about a group of early 20th-century Danish artists; Irish house New Island is publishing in October. There's also Anna Stothard's The Pink Hotel, about a 17-year-old London girl who, in L.A. to attend her long-absent mother's funeral, stumbles upon a suitcase full of letters from men who knew her mom. The girl then spends the summer returning the letters; slated for an April 2011 release in the U.K. From cookbook author and TV star Nigella Lawson is Kitchen (Hyperion, Oct. 2010), featuring recipes for "feel-good food for cooks and eaters"; rights sold in the Netherlands, Poland, and the U.K., with deals underway in Norway, Portugal, and Sweden. The agency's other big title is the much-talked-about autobiography from Keith Richards, Life (Little, Brown, Oct. 2010); the book is getting a massive laydown on October 26, and rights have sold in Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.
WH has a mix of veteran authors as well as newbies this year; among the newer writers, is Justin Evans. The agency will be shopping his second novel, The White Devil (HC, summer 2011), a literary ghost tale which it calls "a cross between Possession, The Shining, and The Secret History." (Evans's debut, 2007's The Good and Happy Child, received a starred PW review and, we said, it "marks the debut of a serious talent.") From international powerhouse Ken Follett is Fall of Giants (Dutton, Sept. 2010), the first entry in the author's the Century trilogy, about five families in different parts of the world facing WWI and the Russian revolution; the book is getting an international laydown on September 28 in 16 countries. From Jennifer Donnelly is The Wilde Rose, the final book in the author's Tea Rose trilogy. Then there's Graveminder (HC, June 2011) by YA bestseller Melissa Marr, about estranged childhood friends drawn back to their hometown where they must face long-held, dark secrets. Other YA titles WH will be selling include the middle-grade book Wildwood (HC, fall 2011) by Decemberists front man Colin Meloy and illustrator Carson Ellis; the agency says the novel, set in an alternate modern-day Portland, Ore., is "a classic tale of adventure, magic, and danger." There's also The Emerald Atlas (Knopf, Apr. 2011) by John Stephens, about three siblings who set off on an adventure through an enchanted world. WH will be pushing high school teacher Beth Revis's Across the Universe (Razorbill, spring 2011), the first in a new trilogy it sold in a major deal right before this year's Bologna Book Fair; the book follows a teenager who is cryogenically frozen and set to wake 300 years in the future but she thaws 50 years too early, still on a spaceship in transit to a new planet; rights sold in Germany, the U.K., and other countries. Another big YA title on WH's hot list is Ally Condie's Matched (Dutton, Nov. 2010), a dystopian work set in a world where a group pairs people with their supposed perfect mate; it was one of the hot books at BEA and was featured on the YA buzz panel.
The Wylie Agency
Among Wylie's big books for the fair is Martin Amis's new one, State of England (no U.S. publisher, delivery Oct. 2010), featuring the "ferocious antihero" Lionel Asbo, a criminal who, while in prison, learns he's won the national lottery; the agency calls the book a "sinister thriller as well as a comic tour de force." From Tahmima Anam is The Good Muslim (HC, May 2011), the second novel in the author's Bengal trilogy, after 2008's A Golden Age (winner of the Guardian First Book Award); rights sold in Brazil, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, and the U.K. The agency has another posthumous work from Robert Bolaño, Los Sinsabores del Verdadero Policia (FSG, spring 2011), which it says is the novel the author was writing from the early '90s and which his two major works, The Savage Detectives and 2666, grew out of; rights sold in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, U.K. Then there's Bowie: Object by David Bowie (no U.S. pub, delivery Dec. 2010), which the agency says is the first in a series of books by the pop icon in which he explores his creative process by featuring 100 things from his "archive." Each item will be "accompanied by a witty, personal text." From Siddhartha Mukherjee is The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner, Nov. 2010), the cancer physician and researcher's clinical and historical examination of the disease; rights sold in Brazil, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, and U.K. From V.S. Naipaul is The Masque of Africa (Knopf, Oct. 2010), a travel book the author says is based on the theme of "African belief"; rights sold in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and U.K. From Orhan Pamuk is A Strangeness in My Mind (no U.S. pub, delivery fall 2012), a novel set in Istanbul in the late '90s that follows a local street vendor who continues to peddle his product, a slightly alcoholic Turkish beverage called boza despite its wide availability in stores. And from Lawrence Wright is The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology (no U.S. pub, delivery June 2011).