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John F. Baker -- 9/18/00

CEO Memoir with a Difference | Bronte Sisters in Australia
The Internet Rebels' Story | Gottlieb Hits Ground Running
Six Figures for Comeback Author
Short Takes

CEO Memoir with a Difference

Intel's Grove:
A tough childhood
That's what is promised by Andrew S. Grove, chairman of Intel Corporation, who is writing his story for another chairman, Time Warner Publishing's Larry Kirshbaum. Unlike recent big-buy books by top execs, this will not be a management guide or an account of licking anything into shape (Grove has already done that in two books, Only the Paranoid Survive and High Output Management). Instead, it will be an account of a daunting early life that included domination in his native Hungary first by the Nazis and then by the Russian Communists. Eventually the International Rescue Committee helped him escape to the U.S. nearly 50 years ago, and Grove said he intends to donate any proceeds from the book to the organization. The deal, for North American rights, was made with Owen Laster at William Morris. An unusual wrinkle is that the book, to be called Swimming Across, will be edited by Time magazine editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine, as the first of a series of books he plans to edit.

Bronte Sisters in AustraliaA new Australian writer, Mardi McConnochie, had this odd notion and made it the heart of a first novel called Coldwater, which so excited Random's Deb Futter when she was told about it that she waited by the mailroom for the manuscript to come in, read it overnight and preempted the next day. The agent who made the irresistible spiel was Sloan Harris at ICM, and he sold Futter U.S. and Canada only. (Australia has already been sold, to HarperCollins there, and a U.K. auction is underway.) McConnochie's book tells of a remote island prison off the Australian coast whose warden has three daughters in his dysfunctional family, all would-be writers, named Anne, Emily and Charlotte. "They're used as a kind of dark conceit in a book that is quite gothic and also utterly page-turning," enthused Futter. She plans to publish it next fall.

The Internet Rebels' Story
Dan Halpern
at HarperCollins' Ecco Press may be an old-style publisher, but he can recognize the new new thing when he sees it, and has just preempted a book to be called Leaving Reality Behind, which is the story of how the online group of rebel artists calling themselves etoy did battle with the online retail giant over their URL and scored a victory for those who see the Web as a people's medium rather than a road to profit. The authors are a young British TV producer and journalist, Adam Wishart,and a Swiss author and journalist, Regula Boschler, who was early onto the etoy story and became a close ally. Their book will cover, as detailed in an interminable subtitle, "digital hijacking, Internet terrorism, e-riots, Web art, and how Wall Street billionaires were conquered by a gang of Internet kids." Halpern bought this spicy stew for an undisclosed sum from Emma Parry at the Carlisle Agency.

Gottlieb Hits Ground Running
Robert Gottlieb
, who quit the William Morris agency earlier this month (News, Sept. 11) to launch his own Trident Media Group, has made his first seven-figure sale, switching thriller author Kyle Mills to Putnam from HarperCollins in a two-book deal for North American rights only. The deal was made with the house's Stacy Creamer,who, said Gottlieb, asked about the author's availability and made an offer. Mills's Storming Heaven is currently selling well in paperback, and his Free Fall is a Harper hardcover. No titles or dates have been set for the new books. Another plus for Gottlieb: former Morris staffer Matt Bialer just joined him.

Six Figures for Comeback Author
Heidi Jon Schmidt
published a well-received debut story collection, The Rose Thieves, with Harcourt 10 years ago, shortly after graduating from the Iowa Writers Program. Then, rather unusually for a promising new writer, she disappeared from view. Now, with a new agent--Jennifer Carlson at Henry Dunow--she has resurfaced with a vengeance. Regan Arthur at Picador came through with a "significant" six-figure preempt for a new story collection to be called Darling? and a novel, The Bride of Catastrophe, still uncompleted. Arthur bought world rights, and the story collection will be Picador's lead fiction for fall next year. The buy, incidentally, got the nod from Picador's new chief, Brit Frances Coady.

Short TakesAgent Susan Golomb made a six-figure deal with Kate Niedzwecke at Villard for a book combining high-risk rock-climbing, hostage taking and death. It's Over the Edge by climber/author Greg Child and tells the story of a group of young American rock climbers in a former Soviet republic in Central Asia who were taken hostage by rebel militia and escaped by pushing one of their captors off a cliff.... Norton editor-in-chief Starling Lawrence made two big buys before heading off to Tibet last week: a book by Michael Lewis,on how America is dealing with the new technology, bought from Al Zuckerman at Writer's House; and a book on a mutiny aboard a 19th-century whaling ship, by whaling historian Thomas Heffernan,from Chris Calhoun at Sterling Lord Literistic.