David Byrne likes to bike. Haruki Murakami loves to run. And Nathan Zuckerman, at the ripe old age of 71, can still pick up younger women. Foreign editors will learn all this and more when they flip through the rights catalogues the American agents and publishers are bringing to the Frankfurt Fair next month. Here, a snapshot of what the big agencies and houses will be pushing in the rights tent.
Robert Gottlieb at Trident highlights five big titles that he’s expecting to draw crowds to the agency’s tables. One of those big
titles—and a much-hyped BEA book—is Hachette’s I Am America (and So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert. Also on Trident’s list is the 2010-slated 15th Stephanie Plum novel from Janet Evanovich; Sword of God (Berkley, Oct. 2007), a thriller by Sign of the Cross author Chris Kuzneski about the manhunt for a terrorist who escapes on U.S. soil; Edgar winner T. Jefferson Parker’s L.A. Outlaws (Putnam, Feb. 2008), about an L.A. high school teacher leading a double life as a thief; and international bestseller Paullina Simons’s The Road to Paradise (HarperCollins UK, spring 2008; HC Australia, Nov. 2007), about three women—two high school friends and one mysterious hitchhiker—who travel from New York to California in 1981, each searching for different things.
Director of international rights Tracy Fisher talks up two projects “among many” that the agency will be pushing overseas. The first, an untitled
story collection by Dartmouth and Yale Law grad Daniyal Mueenuddin (a native of Pakistan who practiced law in New York City), has just gone on submission in the U.S. and is, according to the agency, reminiscent of “Faulkner, Anderson and Turgenev.” The linked tales recount the lives of the workers and masters on a Pakistani farm. WM’s other big book, in the nonfiction category, is Edward Glaeser’s The Language of Cities. Currently on submission in the U.S.—at press time a deal had not been finalized—it’s an examination of the modern city by the Harvard urban economist.
Susan Hobson, InkWell’s codirector of subsidiary rights, points to a number of titles the agency will be peddling. On the fiction side, there’s Carol Cassella’s Oxygen, a debut novel about an anesthesiologist that S&S will publish in 2008. (So far, Norwegian rights have been preempted by Damm.) There’s also Barefoot author Elin Hilderbrand’s A Summer Affair. (Little, Brown is publishing
in 2008 and rights have sold to Little, Brown UK and Monda
dori in Italy.) Finally, for fiction, there’s Christopher Reich’s Rules of Deception, a thriller about an American physician in Switzerland. (Doubleday is publishing in summer 2008; rights have been sold in nine territories, with a film option at Paramount.) On the nonfiction side, there’s David Sanger’s Inheritance:The World Ahead, a description of “hot spots” around the globe, written by the chief Washington correspondent for the New YorkTimes as an imagined memo to the president. (Harmony is publishing here in fall 2008.)
ICM’s highlights include new books from Thomas Friedman and Haruki Murakami, among other heavy hitters. The agency has Friedman’s Green Is the New Red, White and Blue, a manifesto from The World Is Flat author about why America needs to embrace environmentalism. Then there’s The Fall of the House of Bush by Craig Unger, author
© Marion Ettinger
of House of Bush, House of Saud. (S&S is publishing in the U.S.) Murakami’s new one, What I Think About, is a memoir about the Japanese author’s late-in-life love affair with running. And in a memoir described as “The Year of Magical Thinking meets A Round-Heeled Woman,” Anne Roiphe deals with the aftermath of her husband’s death and the personal ad her daughters placed in the NYRB on her behalf. On the fiction side, the agency has Patricia Cornwell’s Book of the Dead, the 15th book featuring Kay Scarpetta; Alan Furst’s new espionage novel, The Spies of Warsaw; Siri Hustvedt’s The Sorrows of an American; and Dear American Airlines, a debut novel from Jonathan Miles, written in the form of a complaint letter to the friendly skies operator.
Aside from the big book that Ed Victor’s bringing to Germany—Keith Richards’s memoir, which was the talk of LBF and went to Little, Brown in the U.S. for (reportedly) more than $7 million—director of foreign rights Sophie Hicks notes four other titles that the company is particularly excited about: Charles Maclean’s thriller Home Before Dark, about a father hunting for his daughter’s killer (rights have been sold to Hodder in the U.K.; Mynx in Holland; and Azbooka in Russia); Gyles Brandreth’s The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries (S&S is publishing in the U.S., John Murray in the U.K.; and rights have also been sold in France, Spain, Italy, Romania and Greece); a new novel from Jack Higgins called The Killing Ground (Putnam will publish in the U.S. in early 2008, and HarperCollins is publishing in the U.K.); and, last but not least, the nonfiction Ocean Devil by James McManus. This one’s about a journalist who leads a group of Chinese kids through the mountains of North China to escape the Japanese army in 1944; it will be published by HarperCollins UK in March 2008 and a movie is already in the works, for release next autumn.
Jean V. Naggar
Mollie Glick cites four books that the agency will be selling overseas. The Wolf Chronicles by Dorothy Hearst is the first in a three-book series of novels about the coevolution of dogs and humans; Glick dubs it “Clan of the Cave Bear meets Watership Down.” (S&S preempted the series in the U.S. and will publish the first book in August; sales have been closed in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Holland.) The agency also has a first novel from Christopher Gortner, The Last Queen, that fictionalizes the life of Juana la Loca, the last legitimate queen of Spain. (Random House bought the novel in a two-book deal and rights have been sold in the U.K., Spain and Italy. Coagents will be shopping the book at the fair.) The final big book, which Richard Nash will be selling during his first Frankfurt with Counterpoint, is R.M. Kinder’s An Absolute German, a debut novel about an English professor with a dark secret.
Simon Lipskar is excited about Jonathan Tropper’s new book, How to Talk to a Widower. Delacorte published it in July, and it’s a Richard & Judy pick in England; it has also been sold to a number of countries in Europe. Tropper will be at the fair, supporting the book’s German publication. The other book Lipskar expects to sell quickly is Dan Vyleta’s Pavel & I. The debut (which the agency also brought to the LBF), set in postwar Berlin and following the intersecting lives of an American and German in the city, will be published simultaneously by Bloomsbury in the U.S. and the U.K. in spring 2008; according to Lipskar, the book has “gone for major, major money” in auctions in Italy and Spain, with others soon to close.
Andrew Wylie touts six of his most exciting projects. Tahmima Aman—a young Bangladeshi woman and Harvard grad—has a debut novel, A Golden Age. In Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma, a college student involved in the 1989 uprising at Tiananmen Square falls into a coma, only to wake up years later in a very different China. From film director (and wife of actor Daniel Day-Lewis) Rebecca Miller, there’s The Private Lives of Pippa, about a 50-year-old wife and mother whose life is shaken up when her husband decides to move the couple from their Manhattan apartment to a retirement home. Wylie is also shopping the final installment in Philip Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman series, and the author’s 28th book, Exit Ghost (Houghton, Oct. 2007). On the nonfiction side, Wylie has a quirky memoir from Talking Heads frontman David Byrne called Bicycle Diaries, about the musician’s bike trips through eight major cities. And in Benazir Bhutto’s Reconciliation, the first female prime minister of Pakistan argues that extremism is not inherent to Islam.
Donadio & Olson
Agent Ira Silverberg highlights three books: Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff (which was shopped by the agency at the LBF), about two male porn stars who run into each other before filming a “record-breaking gangbang”; The Confessions of Jack Moon by Fae Myenne Ng (which Hyperion is publishing in the U.S.), about revenge and forgiveness in a Chinese-American family in San Francisco; and Neil Strauss’s The Rules of the Game, a two-book package, following up the bestseller The Game, with the first book detailing how a guy can land a girl in 30 days and the next book showing the underside of the pickup-artist lifestyle. (HarperCollins is publishing in the U.S., and rights have been sold in the U.K., Australia and Denmark.)
The Crawford Agency
Chandler Crawford, who will be handling books repped by Amy Rennert of the Rennert Agency in Frankfurt, cites three titles: Jacqueline Winspear’s An Incomplete Revenge, the fifth Maisie Dobbs mystery, which Holt published in February 2007; Peter Greenberg’s Travel Detective Bible, which Rodale is publishing in October 2008; and Rodale’s March 2008 bio of Nancy Pelosi by Marc Sandalow, Madam Speaker.
The agency highlights Jeff Abbott’s Collision, due from Dutton in June 2008. Dubbed an “ultra-Hitchcockian” thriller by the agency, it’s already been translated into 15 languages. On the nonfiction side, there’s Christina Binkey’s Winner Takes All, due in March 2008 from Hyperion. In it, the WSJ journalist chronicles the race to invest in Vegas. And from Po Bronson there’s an untitled book about parenting, expanded from his New York magazine article “Praise Is Dangerous,” scheduled for fall 2009 from Twelve.
Agent Marcy Posner has Micah Toub’s Growing Up Jung, a memoir about being raised by two Jungian shrinks; Norton has U.S. rights and Doubleday Canada has Canadian. Your Hands Are Kissed Many Times is a nonfiction exploration of life in Budapest during WWII by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, the daughter of a Hungarian diplomat; Spiegel & Grau is publishing Stateside. Posner also has a new book by Mary Gaitskill that Pantheon just published in the U.S.: Circling My Mother, a memoir about the author’s difficult relationship with her mom.
And on the Children’s Side...
The agency will be selling a number of children’s titles in the rights tent. Among them are two Newbery Honor authors from Harcourt: a September 2007 title from Gennifer Choldenko, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, about two 13-year-old classmates who bond unexpectedly; and K.L. Going’s The Garden of Eve, a “startlingly original” novel about two children coping with the loss of a family member. From HarperCollins is the May 2008—slated Ever by another Newbery Honor author, Gail Carson Levine, about a rug weaver and dancer in an ancient city. From Random House is Caroline B. Cooney’s Diamonds in the Shadow, a tale of suspense about a New England town that, after welcoming a refugee family from Sierra Leone into the community, unwittingly invites an assassin into their midst.
The big children’s title the agency will be pushing is a debut by Emma Clayton called The Roar. Agent Sophie Hicks said, “I feel as excited about this first novel as I did when I first read Artemis Fowl.” The “hard-biting dystopian thriller” is slated to come out next summer from U.K. publisher Chicken House.
A few titles highlighted by agent Amy Berkower: the fourth book in the Joey Pigza series by Jack Gantos, I Am Not Joey Pigza (FSG); Baby-sitters Club author Ann M. Martin’s new series, called Main Street; Newbery-
winning author Sharon Creech has The Castle Corona; and there’s Newbery
Medalist Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky.
Stimola Literary Studios
Rosemary Simola spotlights a handful of titles she’ll be promoting. Among them: Suzanne Collins’s The Underland Chronicles, the first in an SF trilogy set in a dystopian future (which has sold in Italy); Lisa Papdemetriou’s Drop, a YA novel Knopf is publishing in the U.S. about “fate, love and the roll of the dice”; former Alloy editor Siobhan Vivian’s debut YA novel, A Little Friendly Advice (which has sold in the Netherlands); and former bookseller Lewis Buzbee’s Steinbeck’s Ghosts, which Feiwel & Friends is publishing in the U.S., about a 13-year-old boy searching for a lost city the titular author wrote about.
From the Publishers...
Some of the titles Grove is most excited about include Christopher G. Moore’s The Risk of Infidelity Index, the launch title in a new detective series; William J. Bernstein’s currently untitled “narrative history of the world”; Joe McGinniss Jr.’s The Delivery Man, for which film rights have been sold; and James Howard Kunstler’s World Made by Hand, “an eye-opening and ultimately optimistic novel of American life once again gone extremely local.”
Hachette Book Group USA
Hoping to capitalize on the success of America (The Book), the satirical news collection that Jon Stewart and his Daily Show writers cooked up, Little, Brown will be pushing the October 2007—slated Our Dumb World, a “humorous look at world geography and history” from the writers at the Onion. Also from Little, Brown is the first adult title from bestselling YA scribe Stephenie Meyer, The Host: A Novel. Scheduled for U.S. publication in May 2008, the postapocalyptic thriller follows a wily survivor making his way “after a body snatchers—style invasion of the Earth.” From Grand Central there’s Globality: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything by Hal Serkin, Jim Hemerling and Arindam Bhattacharya with John Butman. Dubbed a “stunning—and scary—wake-up call” about the realities of our changing economic world, the book compiles information on some 3,000 companies in emerging markets that are expanding at a rate which makes them poised to take over the roles held by blue-chip companies like IBM, GE and Toyota. And from Jonathan Karp’s Twelve imprint there’s The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner, “a search for the happiest places in the world,” by the former New York Times reporter and NPR contributor.
Four fiction titles and one nonfiction one are the highlights from Harcourt. On the debut front, there’s Sara Young’s My Enemy’s Cradle, about a Jewish woman who seeks refuge during World War II in the infamous Nazi Lebensborn maternity homes. From Peter Ferry is Travel Writing, a literary suspense novel about a traveler who becomes obsessed with solving a crime while abroad. Thomas H. Cook’s Master of the Delta and Thomas Perry’s Fidelity are two of the mystery/suspense titles the house will also be pushing. On the nonfiction side there’s Gregory Gibson’s Hubert’s Freaks, about a rare book dealer who discovers, and cashes in on, a collection of Diane Arbus photos.
Brenda Segel, HC’s v-p and director of foreign rights, highlights six titles, with a heavy focus on nonfiction, from the house’s lengthy rights list. From Morrow there’s Andrew Gross’s The Dark Tide. Longtime James Patterson coauthor Gross—he penned five books alongside the über-bestseller—delivers a thriller about a wife discovering the secret past of her recently deceased investment banker husband. Also from Morrow is Nafisa Haji’s The Writing on My Forehead, about an American Muslim of Indo-Pakistani descent growing up in the States and clashing with her family’s old-world values. On the nonfiction side, from Harper, is Lily Koppel’s The Red Leather Diary, about the author’s discovery of a former New Yorker’s diary in a Dumpster outside her Manhattan apartment. (The book is expanded from Koppel’s NYT article about the diary.) From Collins there’s Donald Trump and Learning Annex founder Bill Zanker’s Think Big and Kick Ass... in Businessand in Life. From HarperOne is Sidney Poitier’s Letters to My Great-Granddaughter, the actor’s follow-up to his bestselling Measure of a Man, in which he offers more inspirational advice. Also from HarperOne is The Sistine Secrets by Benjamin Blech and Roy Doliner, an investigation into Michelangelo’s involvement with an underground group of “interfaith freethinkers and kabbalists,” as evidenced in the artist’s not specifically Christian Sistine Chapel fresco.
Some of the books v-p and director of subsidiary rights Denise Cronin will be talking up at the fair include Nick Heil’s nonfiction Dark Summit. The title, which Holt is releasing in May 2008, is the journalist and climber’s account of the 2006 climbing season on Mount Everest (the first to match the fatal 1996, the year of the perilous climb chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air). (Thus far rights have been sold in the U.K., Australia, Canada and Germany.) Also on the adventure list is Tony Horwitz’s A Voyage Long and Strange, which Holt is publishing in October 2007. With an announced 200,000 first printing, this fresh history about the European explorers discovering America, by the Pulitzer-winning Horwitz, has sold in the U.K. and Germany. From Times Books there’s Abrahm Lustgarten’s May 2008 book on China. Currently untitled, the work explores the country’s dramatic, and ongoing, social and economic transformation. From Metropolitan Books is the graphic novel A People’s History of America in the World. Scheduled for a March 2008 publication, this visual twist on Howard Zinn’s iconic work, authored by Zinn, Paul Buhle and cartoonist Mike Konpacki, has been sold in the U.K.
Three titles Houghton will be pushing hard in the rights tent are The End of Oil author Paul Roberts’s The End of Food (Mar. 2008), about the failings of the food system; Marya Hornbacher’s memoir Madness: A Bipolar Life (Apr. 2008), about coping with the crippling mental illness; and Johan Bruyneel with Bill Strickland’s We Might as Well Win (June 2008), a memoir by Lance Armstrong’s former coach and “the winningest team director in cycling history.”
David Zimmer, the house’s corporate communications rep, highlights four titles the house thinks will draw particular interest from foreign editors. From Putnam there’s Armageddon in Retrospect, a new collection of fiction and nonfiction, some previously unpublished, by Kurt Vonnegut. The book is slated to be published in the U.S. on the one-year anniversary of Vonnegut’s death. From Viking there’s Geraldine Brooks’s People of the Book, from the Pulitzer-winning author of March. From Penguin Press there’s In Defense of Food, a “manifesto... about what to eat, what not to eat and how to think about food,” from Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan. And from Riverhead is the wonderfully titled Foreskin’s Lament, a comic memoir by Shalom Auslander about growing up in an Orthodox Jewish family.
A few selections from Random House’s extensive list include Doubleday’s Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman, an “inspirational guide” from the bestselling Christian author of The Five Languages of Love. From Broadway Books is Charles Martin’s “terrifically moving and commercial” novel, Where the River Ends, about a man recovering from the death of his wife; it’s being pitched as “in the vein of Nicholas Sparks.” Also from Broadway is Journey of a Thousand Miles by Lang Lang with David Ritz, a memoir from the young Chinese piano prodigy who will be playing at the opening of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. (A “major deal” for Miles has been closed in Germany.) From Bantam Dell, there’s Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street, an insider take on a major Wall Street scandal; movie rights have gone to Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. From RHPG is Jonathan Kellerman’s April 2008—scheduled Compulsion; rights have been sold in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Also from RHPG, in the nonfiction department, is Daoud Hari’s The Translator. The April 2008 memoir is by a Darfur native who translated for journalists covering the devastation unfolding in the country. From Crown is Scott Sigler’s sci-fi horror thriller Infected, which has been added to the RH Films production slate. From Shaye Areheart is a new novel from Alice Hoffman, The Third Angel, about “three women in love with the wrong men.” And from Harmony is Deepak Chopra’s The Third Jesus, which poses an answer to the question Who is Jesus?
Simon & Schuster
S&S and Touchstone and Fireside foreign rights director Marcella Berger expects big things in particular from two debut novels, a presidential exposé and a Hollywood memoir. From the house’s flagship imprint is a currently untitled book by Taylor Branch based on the author’s interviews with President Bill Clinton throughout his eight years in office. The accomplished Branch won the Pulitzer for Parting the Waters (and was an NBA finalist and NBCC winner for At Canaan’s Edge); S&S says the book “portrays a towering and controversial president through the eyes of a writer known for masterful presentation of sensitive, complex history.” (Rights have been sold in the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.) From Touchstone is Scientific American editor Mark Alpert’s debut novel, The Theory of Everything, which is slated to come out in the U.S. in June 2008. Everything is a thriller that follows a Columbia physics professor on the run after he inherits an unpublished Einstein theory. (Rights have been sold in the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.) Also from Touchstone, due out in fall 2008, is a memoir from George Hamilton. From Free Press, a new untitled book from Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria, about women and family will likely generate interest, as will Steve Martin’s memoir, due out in November 2007 from Scribner, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life.