No fewer than five new books by Salman Rushdie were being shopped around at Frankfurt by agent Andrew Wylie, but a deal was not announced until after the fair ended. It's a big one, as might be expected, and involves no fewer than three Random operations: U.S., U.K. and Canada. Ann Godoff signed the world English rights deal for four novels and a collection of essays and lit crit, which will be done simultaneously by Random here, Jonathan Cape/Vintage in the U.K. and Knopf Canada. Godoff will be the editor. The deal also calls for Modern Library paperbacks, and for Rushdie himself to serve as editor of a new ML paperback series.


That's Harry Evans, former chief at Random Trade, who then went off to a newspapering job while his The American Century soared to bestsellerdom for Knopf. At 71, Evans is calling it quits in the press game and devoting himself full-time to writing. The first two fruits of his new labors will be books that have both been signed, by Warner trade publishing chairman Larry Kirshbaum, for publication by Sarah Crichton at Little, Brown. One will be America, Inc., a series of illustrated portraits of great business innovators; the other will be We the People, a history that picks up long before Evans's other history book, and traces America's first 100 years. LB has world rights in both, and plans to publish in fall 2002 and 2004, respectively.


The current Pinochet extradition case has made a first purchase by Alicia Brooks in her new role as associate editor at Picador particularly timely. She had been keeping tabs on the work of journalist Noga Tarnopolsky, whose cousin Daniel won the right to sue an Argentine admiral for the "disappearance" of his family during the military regime in that country in 1976. Noga, who is based in Jerusalem and writes for the New York Times and the Jerusalem Post, has written an account of her family's trials, concluding with Daniel's success in forcing then Admiral Emilio Massera, through an Argentine court, to pay personal compensation for the damage done them. The story will appear, under the title "Disappearances," in the New Yorker next month, but Noga is expanding it into a book, and when her agent, Simon Lipskar at Writer's House, auctioned it recently, Brooks was ready. She paid a "healthy" six figures for world rights, with the aid of Picador chief George Witte, and the house has tentative publication plans for 2001.


Christopher Reich scored a very considerable success with his thriller Numbered Account, and now his agent, Richard Pine at Arthur Pine, has brokered a pair of high-velocity two-book deals he hopes will make his author "the next big international suspense star, along Ludlum lines." The first is with Bantam Dell chief Irwyn Applebaum, where the first of the books, The Runner, will be Delacorte's lead title for next spring. Pine described the book, which is only just finished, as a thriller, set in Germany at the end of WWII, that pits an American lawyer investigating a Nazi war criminal against the slippery object of his investigation. Bantam paid in the substantial six figures and so, shortly afterward, did Headline in the U.K., where Bill Massey, editor of the publisher's Feature line, made his offer before he'd even finished reading the part of the manuscript he'd been given. London publication is set for May, followed by a paperback in November. The second book is as yet unwritten and untitled.


As noted in News last week, J lle Delbourgo has emerged from her senior spot at HarperCollins to run her own agency, and her first sale was a big one, a two-book deal for a North Carolina first novelist named Pamela Duncan. Brought to her by a writer Delbourgo published for years in paperback at Ballantine, Lee Smith, Duncan's Moon Women is a story of three generations of hillbilly women. The editor who came through with a strong two-book preemptive world rights offer five days after receiving the manuscript was Delacorte/Bantam's Jackie Cantor.


Those who receive our e-mail newsletter "PW Rights Alert" (it's free for now; sign up via PW's Web page, already know quite a bit about the books that caused a lot of buzz, and scored some strong foreign sales, at Frankfurt. But here's a brief recap and update, in no particular order: A first novel bought for Talk Miramax by Jonathan Burnham was The Seventh Samurai, a tale of a genius boy in search of a father figure by a Yank-in-England, Helen DeWitt; this inspired vast interest and many foreign deals.... Talk Miramax also had a planned biography of Jordan's Queen Noor, which made enough foreign sales to recoup its considerable cost.... A first novel set in Minnesota, From These Granite Islands by Sarah Stonich, pre-empted by Little, Brown's Judy Clain in a six-figure two-book deal with Wendy Sherman at Aaron Priest, was preempted by Rizzoli, and other major foreign offers were expected.... Silence Speaking, a multigenerational first-novel romance about the early years of Israel by Cambridge, Mass., author Nomi Eve, was sold by Amanda Urban at ICM for big money to Knopf and Little, Brown U.K.... Henry Holt's John Sterling had bought world rights for a substantial six figures to Tony Horwitz's untitled book on celebrated explorer Captain Cook, and foreign interest was keen. A six-figure sale was made to Bloomsbury U.K., and another to Germany's Rowohlt, and good offers were in from Brazil and Holland. HarperAudio preempted for audio rights.