Viking Preempts Queenan

Joe Queenan has just sold a memoir, preempted by Viking's Rick Kot in a six-figure deal with agent Rob McQuilkin. In the presently untitled book, Queenan will explore themes of class mobility and the elusiveness of forgiveness through the story of a smart kid growing up in, and later escaping from, working-class Philadelphia, with a violent father he tries to love and respect, yet can't. A regular contributor to the New York Times and other publications, Queenan is the author of nine books, most recently Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country. Viking has North American rights.

Speak, Memory

Harmony's John Glusman has acquired Sue Halpern's Can't Remember What I Forgot via KimWitherspoon at Inkwell, who sold world rights. Previously excerpted in the New Yorker, Halpern's foray into the science of memory seeks to understand what constitutes the “normal” aging of the brain by examining the abnormal. Halpern will introduce readers to those making monumental breakthroughs at the front lines of neurobiological and pharmacological research to tell us what's on the memory horizon. Harmony will publish in May 2008.

Young Takes Two

Hyperion's Gretchen Young has acquired world English rights to an untitled book by Afghan Youth Sports Exchange founder Awista Ayub; Heather Mitchell at Gelfman Schneider made the deal. Ayub, whose family escaped from Afghanistan to Connecticut when she was two, founded the program after September 11, 2001, as a way of uniting girls from her homeland and to give them hope. Young learned of Ayub when two members of the exchange—young Afghan women who, just by playing soccer, put themselves in grave danger—won the 2006 Arthur Ashe Courage Awards. Hyperion hopes to publish in fall 2008.

Young also bought a new book by Frank Luntz titled What Americans Want... Really via agent Lorin Rees, who sold world rights. In this follow-up to Words That Work, which Hyperion published in 2006, pollster Luntz will analyze the full spectrum of what Americans want, and why, blending politics, business, entertainment and culture. Tentative pub date is winter 2009.

Inside Medellin

Rick Wolff at Grand Central has acquired North American rights to The Accountant's Story, in which Roberto Escobar, the top executive, accountant and older brother of Pablo Escobar, will tell the inside story, and recount the rise and fall, of the Medellin drug cartel; at one point Pablo was the richest man in the world. Ian Kleinert at Objective Entertainment made the deal, and David Fisher will coauthor. The book is tentatively set to be published in 2009.

The Briefing

Cuban dancer and principal at Covent Garden Carlos Acosta has written a memoir of growing up in the slums of Havana, the youngest of 11 children, titled No Way Home; Whitney Frick at Scribner bought U.S. rights from Felicity Bryan, and U.K. rights have been sold to HarperCollins.... Touchstone's Sulay Hernandez has acquired North American rights to the next novel by Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, titled What Doesn't Kill You; agent Victoria Sanders made the six-figure deal. Touchstone will publish the duo's new novel, Gotta Keep On Tryin', in January 2008.... Michaela Hamilton at Kensington has bought world rights to Thuglit Presents: Hardcore Hardboiled, a crime fiction anthology edited by's Todd Robinson, via agent Adam Chromy. Kensington will publish Best of Thuglit anthologies for the next three years; pub date for the first book, which includes an introduction by Otto Penzler, is June 2008.