Harcourt Auction Wins

Ann Patty at Harcourt won an auction for a debut novel by David Levinson titled Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence; agent Emma Sweeney sold North American rights. This work of literary suspense is a tale of ambition and greed that is said to hold appeal for fans of The Secret History and Possession. Levinson, the author of one previous collection, Most of Us Are Here Against Our Will, teaches creative writing at NYU. No pub date yet.

Also at Harcourt, Stacia Decker won an auction for U.S. rights to the first two novels in a new mystery series by Inger Wolfe; Ellen Levine at Trident made the six-figure deal. The first book, The Calling, to pub in spring 2008, will introduce readers to a 61-year-old, recently divorced detective inspector who finds herself tracking a serial killer whose victims' mouths are molded into mysterious and terrifying expressions. Wolfe is a pseudonym for a prominent North American literary novelist; Canadian rights have already been sold at auction to McClelland & Stewart, Transworld won U.K. rights and German rights have been preempted. Wolfe's second book, MurderPlot, is slated for fall 2009.

Novel Preempts

Carole DeSanti at Viking preempted a novel by Dirk Wittenborn titled Pharmakon; Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD NY sold North American rights on behalf of Caroline Dawnay at PFD in London. Based on experiences in Wittenborn's life, the novel opens in the 1950s amid early experiments with mood-altering drugs within the scientific community at Yale, and traces the consequences for one family when a gifted, troubled student and research participant commits a murder. Wittenborn is the author of two previous novels; Viking plans a summer 2008 publication.

Anjali Singh at Houghton has preempted, within a week of submission, a first novel by Brigid Pasulka titled A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True via agent Wendy Sherman, who sold North American rights for six figures. The novel intertwines the story of a young woman coming of age in post-Communist Krakow with the story of her grandparents' courtship in a small mountain village in pre-World War II Poland. Likely pub date is fall 2008 or winter 2009.

America in the Middle East

Harmony's John Glusman has acquired North American rights to Jim Sciutto's Against Us via agent Gail Ross. Based on his reporting in the Middle East, senior foreign ABC correspondent Sciutto will explore Muslim perceptions of America in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Through personal profiles, Sciutto will show how these perceptions have evolved and what they mean for the security of the region and the geopolitical image of the U.S. Tentative pub date is fall 2008.

Murphy's Memoir

Patrick Murphy, the only Iraq War veteran to be elected to Congress, has sold a memoir, Taking the Hill, to John Sterling at Holt via Esther Newberg at ICM. Murphy will share stories of his blue-collar Philadelphia childhood and his times as the youngest professor at West Point and a captain in the 82nd Airborne. He will also take readers to the front lines in Iraq, the campaign trail in Pennsylvania and the halls of Congress. Holt holds North American rights and plans an early 2008 publication.

The Briefing

Jennifer Kasius at Running Press has acquired Missy Chase Lapine's The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (in the Kitchen) via agent Joelle Delbourgo, who sold world rights. This sequel to The Sneaky Chef will showcase more recipes featuring Lapine's strategies for hiding healthy ingredients in everyday favorite dishes.