Moving On to Books
Zachary Shuster Harmsworth's Todd Shuster recently sold two books affiliated with the civic nonprofit MoveOn.org, both of which are being produced on crash schedules. The first is The Motherhood Manifesto by MoveOn.org cofounder Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, which Carl Bromley bought for Nation Books. Blades and Rowe-Finkbeiner will highlight six points for supporting mothers and families, using the personal stories of mothers to argue for radical shifts in both public and private sectors to make parenting and the workplace compatible; they aim to launch a whole new nationwide "motherhood movement" based on achieving these changes. Nation Books holds North American rights and plans to publish in May.
And in August, to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Earth Aware Editions, an imprint of California-based Palace Press, will publish It Takes a Nation, a four-color book of photography and text capturing the post-Katrina exodus of families from New Orleans to homes across the country and the work that MoveOn's hurricanehousing.org provided in "matching" refugees with host families. Carter B. Smith's portraits of the evacuees with their donor families will accompany about 25 transcribed refugee and donor narratives. Palace's Lisa Fitzpatrick acquired world English rights; the book will be edited by MoveOn's cultural events director, Laura Dawn, who conceived and compiled the project, and will contain a foreword by Sen. Barack Obama.
McGrath Strikes Twice
About 12 hours after receiving it, Scribner's Sarah McGrath preempted a debut novel by 27-year-old Aryn Kyle titled The God of Animals; agent Denise Shannon sold North American rights for significant six figures. The book tells the story of two sisters raised on a horse ranch in Colorado and their struggle to transcend their emotionally bereft upbringing. The novel's first chapter previously appeared as one of Kyle's first published stories, "Foaling Season," which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and was one of three stories that won the magazine its last National Magazine Award for fiction, in 2004.
McGrath also bought a debut novel by (London) Times Magazine features writer Fiona Neill, titled The Secret Life of Lucy Sweeney, from Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD NY on behalf of Simon Trewin at PFD U.K. The novel explores the dilemmas of motherhood and modern marriage through the humorous travails of the titular heroine and is based on the author's popular "Slummy Mummy" columns in the London Times (the book was sold in the U.K. as The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy). Scribner holds U.S. rights only and will publish in spring 2007.
Random's Jennifer Hershey has just signed up the latest by The Club Dumas author Arturo Pérez-Reverte, titled El Pintor de Batallas (The Painter of Battles) from agent Howard Morhaim on behalf of Raquel de la Concha in Spain; Hershey was Pérez-Reverte's editor at Putnam, where he was most recently published. The new novel, just published in Spain, is the story of a war photographer who is pursued, with murderous intent, by the subject of one of his most famous images. Pérez-Reverte himself was a war journalist for more than 20 years. Random holds North American rights; publication is expected in mid-2007.
Supermodel and raw foodist Carol Alt has sold The Raw 50, a practical book of recipes for anyone who wants to add more raw food to their diet, to Pam Krauss at Clarkson Potter, which also published Alt's Eating in the Raw, via agent Laura Dail. This was a world English deal, and the book will be written with David Roth.