A memoir by author-actor-jokester Tony Hendra called Father Joe and described as a sort of Catholic Tuesdays with Morrie, both comic and touching, was bought by executive editor Dan Menaker at HarperCollins for a significant six figures, world English rights, for publication next spring; agent was Midwest-based Jonathon Lazear ....A first novel called Raft of the Medusa by Vendela Vida was preempted at Knopf by Jenny Minton after the author was introduced to the house by author/publisher Dave Eggers; it's the story of a girl ambushed in a New York City park and the effect this has on her life. Minton bought hard-soft North American (for Vintage, too) from agent Mary Evans .... Two bright college grads who made a cross-country trip seeking career advice from famous people sold their story, via agent Xanthe Tabor at William Morris, to associate editor Allison Dickens at Ballantine; the book is called Roadtrip Nation and authors Michael Marriner and Nathan Gebhard have parlayed their idea into a TV documentary and a career advising on careers.... Dan Halpern at HarperCollins imprint Ecco made an unusual deal with legendary West Coast small publisher John Martin of Black Sparrow Press to publish a range of backlist titles (and in one case, unpublished work, too) by three of its most popular authors: Paul Bowles, Charles Bukowski and John Fante. The deal, which was actually signed by Harper president of corporate strategy and international David Steinberger, calls for world rights in a total of 49 backlist titles by the three stars, in addition to five unpublished works by Bukowski.