Novelist Colson Whitehead, whose John Henry Days won glowing notices and an NBCC nomination, has signed on with Doubleday's Bill Thomas for a new novel and a nonfiction book about New York. It was a North American rights deal signed with Nicole Aragi, her first as an agent on her own. The nonfiction book, tentatively titled The Colossus of New York, is a series of essays in which Whitehead meditates on the personality of the city and its impact on those who live in it, and is set for publication next year, with the new novel to appear a year later. Thomas also signed a new nonfiction work by Hampton Sides (Ghost Soldiers), about the U.S. Army's defeat of the Navajo in the last century.