A new novel by British author Heather McGowan was the first sale of the year by Burnes & Clegg's Bill Clegg. He sold U.S. rights to The Duchess of Nothing to Colin Dickerman at Bloomsbury USA; it's the story of a woman who leaves her husband and finds herself tending her lover's seven-year-old son.... Gotham's Brendan Cahill preempted a book called Kings of New York, about the competitive chess played as a sport by an oddball bunch of Brooklyn high schoolers. The author is sportswriter Michael Weinreb, and the North American rights deal was made by agent Jane Dystel.... Bantam Dell's Nita Taublib signed for two thrillers by debut author Richard Doetsch, a Connecticut real estate exec; the first of them, The Thieves of Heaven, about a remarkable burglary, has already been optioned for the movies by 20th Century Fox in a deal orchestrated by Joel Gotler for Doetsch's agent, Cynthia Manson.... We gave the wrong information January 17 when we reported that Scribner had bought North American rights to Tim Winton's story collection The Turning. In fact, this was a U.S. sale only; Phyllis Bruce at Harper Canada made a two-book Canadian deal for the collection plus Winton's next novel for a sizable advance, in a bid to beef up the admired Australian writer's profile in Canada. The deal was done by Toronto agent Bella Pomer on behalf of Jenny Darling in Australia.... Talking of Canadian doings, a much-admired Canadian author, Alice Munro, is in the U.S. next week (February 1) to accept the Medal for Literature from New York's National Arts Club, at a dinner to be attended by Margaret Atwood and Random publisher Daniel Menaker, among others.