In his first acquisition since moving to Harper from Doubleday Broadway, Rakesh Satyal has preempted world English rights to artificial intelligence authority David Levy's Love and Sex with Robots: Artificial Intelligence, Automatons, and the Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships; Mollie Glick at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency made the six-figure deal. Synthesizing breaking news in the robotics field with cultural history, technology, art, literature and psychology, Levy will explore the burgeoning sexual subculture of companion robots and offer a prediction for the way our personal interactions with technology may soon evolve. Harper plans a fall 2007 publication.
In Touchstone Fireside's first acquisition in the comics genre, the imprint's Amanda Patten has preempted world rights to two books by Jeffrey Brown, Ignatz Award—winning author of Clumsyand Bighead, via Marc Gerald at the Agency Group. Brown's next two autobiographical graphic novels are a collection of stories about the cumulative significance of life's little moments, titled Little Things, and a full-length memoir about his coming-of-age as a comics artist, Funny Misshapen Body. Brown has been featured on This American Life and he will be included in the next edition of Best American Comics.
Stephanie Owens Lurie and Mark McVeigh at Dutton have acquired five books by Newbery Award—winner and The Westing Game author Ellen Raskin in a major six-figure deal negotiated by Alex Glass and John Silbersack at Trident on behalf of the Raskin estate. The books include two new puzzle mystery novels: The Westing Quest, a sequel to The Westing Game, and A Murder for Macaroni and Cheese, a never-before-seen manuscript nearly completed at the author's death in 1984. The deal also includes the reissue of three backlist novels, Figgs & Phantoms, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) and The Tattooed Potato.
Shields on Vonnegut
Charles J. Shields, whose 2006 Mockingbird, a portrait of Harper Lee, was a New York Timesbestseller, has signed with George Hodgman at Henry Holt to write And So It Goes, an authorized closeup on the life, work and world of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; Jeff Kleinman at Folio made the world rights deal. Shields plans an unconventional portrait inspired by Vonnegut's own style; he secured the author's cooperation through a series of postcards that eventually evolved into a working relationship. Publication is sometime in 2009.
New editor-in-chief Andrea Schulz at Harcourt has acquired North American rights to Ian Johnson's A Mosque for the Taking; Chris Calhoun at Sterling Lord made the six-figure deal. The book will explain how radical Islam got its foothold in the West—not in Afghanistan in the 1970s, but 20 years earlier in a mosque in Munich, built by ex-Nazi officers and backed by the CIA at the height of the Cold War. Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his reporting on religious repression in China for the Wall Street Journal, is also the author of Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China (Pantheon, 2004). Harcourt plans a fall 2008 pub date for Mosque.
Harper's Kate Hamill has acquired New York Times sports reporter Liz Robbins's The First Sunday in November from agent Andrew Blauner, who sold world English rights. Robbins's narrative account of the New York City marathon will explore why runners, from the recreational to the elite, are driven to race such a distance and how the streets of New York provide a fitting backdrop for these grand-scale goals. Harper will publish in time for the 2008 marathon.
Robert Pigeon at Da Capo has acquired U.S. rights to The Archimedes Codex by Reviel Netz and William Noel from U.K. publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Part archeological detective story, part science and part history, the book will tell the story of the recent recovery of a lost work by Archimedes. Publication is fall 2007.
Harmony's Julia Pastore won an auction conducted by Brettne Bloom at Kneerim & Williams for sisters Diana Welch and Liz Welch's memoir, The Kids Are All Right, which tells the story of four devoted siblings who were separated from each other as children after losing both their parents, and how they came to terms with their past and reunited as a family. Harmony holds North American rights.... Martin Shepard at the Permanent Press acquired world rights to Rocci Hill's 3 Minutes on Love, a novel based on the real-life story of the first woman to break into the field of rock photography and her ensuing love affair with an international rock star; agent Jodie Rhodes made the deal and a 2008 pub date is planned.... Betsy Lerner at Dunow Carlson Lerner has sold The Book Doctor author Esther Cohen's Don't Mind Me and Other Jewish Lies to Sarah Mandell at Hyperion, who bought North American rights. This humor book will compile 100 lies, including "I just want a taste," "You shouldn't feel guilty" and "My son is 5'10"." A 2008 publication is planned.