Deal of the Week
Morrow Buys Kuang’s ‘Yellowface’
In a mid-six-figure deal, May Chen at William Morrow preempted world English rights (jointly with Ann Bissell at HarperCollins UK imprint Borough Press) to Rebecca F. Kuang’s Yellowface. Morrow, which compared the novel to White Ivy and The Other Black Girl, said it tackles “questions of diversity and racism in publishing and the erasure of Asian American voices and history.” Kuang was represented in the agreement by Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates. Morrow said Yellowface follows “a white author who steals an unpublished manuscript, written by a more successful Asian American novelist who died in a freak accident, and publishes it as her own.” Kuang is the author of the Poppy War fantasy trilogy (which won, among other awards, a Hugo and a Nebula) and has master’s degrees in Chinese studies from Cambridge and Oxford. She’s currently pursuing her PhD in East Asian languages and literatures at Yale.
Chaker Reassesses ‘Beauty’ for Avery
Wall Street Journal features writer Anne Marie Chaker sold Beauty and the Beast to Lucia Watson at Avery. The author is also a professional bodybuilder, and the nonfiction book, subtitled Weightlifting and the Fulfillment of Female Strength, is her debut. Beauty and the Beast, Avery said, is “a deeply reported look at the history of the female ideal and origins of ‘skinny.’ ” It “offers a road map for women to build—rather than diminish—themselves.” Todd Shuster at Aevitas Creative Management handled the North American and open market rights deal for Chaker. Beauty and the Beast is slated for spring 2023.
McMeel Puts on Vittoria’s ‘Big Girl Pants’
In a world English rights agreement, Stacey Glick at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret sold Amber Vittoria’s These Are My Big Girl Pants to Patty Rice at Andrews McMeel. The illustrated poetry collection is set to be released in book format in 2023, and then as a calendar in 2024. Vittoria’s work, Glick said, “leverages naive artistic approaches, such as simple line and bold swaths of color, to abstractly depict relatable tales of what it is like to be a woman.” She added that Big Girl Pants explores “becoming oneself in a world with the male gaze, and being okay with one’s changing physical and emotional self.”
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Children's/YA Deals Roundup
New projects this week include Arcadia by debut author Willow Naomi Curry (pictured), an intergenerational mystery that follows one family's attempts to uncover the impact of environmental racism on their historically Black Houston neighborhood; fantasy middle grade novel Hither & Nigh and a sequel by Ellen Potter, about a group of kids uncovering their magical powers as they discover a hidden New York City, where monsters roam Central Park, Finfolk haunt the Hudson River, and the fate of a missing boy is in their hands; and What Happened to Rachel Riley by Claire Swinarski, a middle grade novel pitched as Where'd You Go Bernadette? for tweens and told through a series of texts, emails, and podcast transcriptions, which follows new kid Anna Hunt as she investigates why Rachel Riley, the former golden girl of middle school, is now a pariah.
Tor Eyes Ward’s ‘Looking Glass’
For six figures, Kelly Lonesome at Tor Nightlife acquired North American rights to two new novels by Catriona Ward (The Last House on Needless Street). The author was represented by Robin Straus at Robin Straus Agency, in association with Andrew Nurnberg Associates. The first book, Looking Glass Sound, is set for March 2023 and follows a writer who, after a failed marriage, rents a New England cottage where, Tor said, “he intends to pen his final novel based on his now-dead nemesis.” At press time, the publisher hadn’t provided details on the second book in the deal. Ward has won a variety of literary awards, including the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror for her novel Little Eve (which was released in the U.K. in 2018 and is being published by Nightfire in the U.S. in October 2022).
Berkley Is Fired Up for Lux’s ‘Sign’
Berkley’s Jen Monroe preempted world rights to Claudia Lux’s debut, Sign Here, in an exclusive-submission two-book deal. Sign Here, Berkley said, is a “genre-bending” tale about a guy working in hell (literally), who, in order to land a promotion, must convince a member of a wealthy family to sell their soul. Monroe said the novel is like “The Good Place if it were a thriller,” and that it explores ideas about “family, memory, morality, and the all-consuming power of love.” Lucy Cleland at Kneerim & Williams represented Lux, whose father was the poet Thomas Lux. Sign Here is set to bow as one of Berkley’s lead titles in fall 2022. The second book in the deal is currently untitled.