Touchstone Keeps Hegi

Ursula Hegi will publish a new novel, The Worst Thing I've Done, in October 2007; her longtime editor Mark Gompertz acquired North American rights for Touchstone from Gail Hochman at Brandt & Hochman. The book is set on the east end of Long Island and is the story of a young woman's dangerous closeness to her two childhood friends now that they are adults, and how she comes to terms with the aftermath of one reckless choice. Hegi is the author of numerous acclaimed and bestselling books, including Stones from the River and The Vision of Emma Blau.

Dern Looks Back

Actor Bruce Dern has signed with Wiley's Eric Nelson to write Things I've Said, but Probably Shouldn't Have: An Unrepentant Memoir; agent Henry Morrison sold world English rights. An Oscar nominee currently featured on the HBO series Big Love, Dern will look back on his career, explaining why he turned down career-making roles in The Godfather and Gandhi; how he became estranged from his blue-blood family; and what it was like to work with Alfred Hitchcock, John Wayne, Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda and others. The book will be written with Hollywood journalists Christopher Fryer and Robert Crane, and will be published in spring 2007.

Common Knowledge

Harmony's John Glusman has acquired U.S. rights to surprise U.K. bestseller The Book of General Ignorance directly from publisher Faber & Faber (which now has nearly 100,000 copies in print). Written by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd, General Ignorance is a compendium of all the humiliating yet entertaining misconceptions, mistakes and misunderstandings in "common knowledge." Glusman also bought the sequel, The Book of Animal Ignorance. Harmony looks to pub the first book in early 2008.

Truth About Atheism

Stephen Morrison and Alexis Washam at Viking have acquired The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by European philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville; Susanna Lea sold North American rights. The book, currently a bestseller in Spain and France and soon to be published in Italy and Brazil, is an examination of the true meaning of atheism, and looks at how a person's spiritual self can be defined and developed without belief in God. Washam will edit and Viking will publish sometime in 2008.

Awesome Debut

David Poindexter at MacAdam/Cage has acquired world rights to Jack Pendarvis's first novel, Awesome, from agent Paul Bresnick; Karan Mahajan will edit. The novel is described as an absurdist, folkloric tall tale about a happy, sexed-up giant who learns a lesson or two; think Philip Roth meets Paul Bunyan meets Rabelais. MacAdam/Cage published Pendarvis's debut collection of stories, The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure, last year, and will be releasing his second collection, Your Body Is Changing, next spring.


Harcourt/Harvest's Tina Pohlman bought North American paperback rights to Jennifer Gilmore's Golden Country, published in hardcover by Scribner this past summer. The novel spans the first half of the 20th century through the stories of three immigrants. Harvest will publish in fall 2007; Gilmore is publicity director at Harcourt.... Cecilia Molinari at Rayo/HarperCollins has acquired North American English-language rights to Puerto Rican novelist Mayra Santos-Febres's Nuestra Senora de la Noche (Our Lady of the Night) via agent Thomas Colchie. The novel narrates the rise and fall of the "black madam" of San Juan society, who by the end of WW II had become the most powerful woman in Puerto Rico.