Canadian magnate and author Conrad Black (now raised to the peerage in London as Lord Black) is writing a major one-volume biography of Franklin Roosevelt, a man one might think was anathema to his conservative soul, but whom he apparently sees as the savior of capitalism. Peter Osnos at Public Affairs is publishing the book this fall, at the same time Weidenfeld & Nicholson is doing it in the U.K., having bought world rights (outside Britain) from agent Mort Janklow.... A first novel (in the U.S.) by Nigerian writer Christopher Albani was won at auction by Ayesha Pande at FSG. It's called GraceLand, and is about a young Elvis imitator in Africa; Pande bought world English rights from Coast agent Sandy Dijkstra, for publication next spring. Albani's earlier books were banned in Nigeria and he was jailed for publishing them.... A new book by Neal Bascomb called The Perfect Mile, about the contest (won by Britain's Roger Bannister) to run the first four-minute mile, was won at auction by Susan Canavan at Houghton Mifflin. It was bought from agent Scott Waxman and will be published in May 2004, on the 50th anniversary of Bannister's win at Oxford.... A North Carolina writer originally published by a small press there, Ron Rash, won a two-book hard/soft deal with Jennifer Barth at Holt and Josh Kendall at Picador after agent Marly Rusoff took him up, encouraged by words of praise about him uttered on NPR and by Raleigh bookseller Nancy Olson.... A new novel, Chango's Fire, by Ernesto Quinonez (whose Bodega Dreams was published by Vintage) was taken by Rene Alegria's Rayo imprint at Harper; the six-figure sale, for both Spanish and English versions, was made by agent Gloria Loomis.
Volume 250 Issue 5 02/03/2003