A new children's trilogy by British screenwriter William Nicholson, who wrote the Wind on Fire series for Hyperion, was signed for Harcourt Children's Books by editorial director Allyn Johnston. It's called The Noble Warriors, and the first title, Seeker, is about a boy trying to join an order of warrior monks. It was bought from Nancy Gallt, acting for U.K. agent Rosemary Canter at PFD.... Rodale's Heather Jackson bought a new book by inspirational author Barbara Sher for world rights from Kris Dahl at ICM, and a book by calorically challenged actress Kirstie Alley called How to Lose Your Ass and Gain Your Life, designed to coincide with the premiere of a new TV show, Fat Actress, next spring; this was also a world rights deal, made with Mel Berger at William Morris.... Tina Pohlmann at Harcourt picked up paperback rights to one of the controversial NBA fiction nominees, Christine Stutt's debut novel, Florida (though it didn't win). She made a deal with publisher Northwestern University Press and agent Gail Hochman that also included an unpublished book of stories.... Basic Books publisher Liz Maguire bought a new book by the Norwegian author of the bestselling Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad. It's A Hundred and One Days, a dramatic account of the time Seierstad spent in Baghdad in the period leading up to and immediately following the American invasion. The book was bought from its British publisher, Virago, for publication here next spring; it has already been sold in 15 countries.... Molly Stern at Viking bought a book called Brother One Cell by Scott Cullen, which tells a Midnight Express—like story of a young American who went to South Korea to teach English and wound up in jail for smuggling dope. The North American rights sale was made by agent William Clark, who has also sold the book to Pan Macmillan in the U.K.... Bloomsbury's Amanda Katz bought a book by Canadian author Michael Winter, a novel that purports to be a memoir by celebrated American artist and illustrator Rockwell Kent, set in a remote corner of Newfoundland where Kent went to live with his family for a year in 1914. It's called The Big Why, and has been greeted with glowing reviews in Canada. The buy was from Toronto agent Anne McDermid.