Ellen Archer and Pamela Dorman at Voice won an auction for a debut novel titled The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe; Suzanne Gluck sold North American rights in this seven-figure, two-book deal. The debut, which begins with a Harvard graduate student cleaning out an old Marblehead family home and finding a slip of paper that sets her on a reckoning with her family legacy, moves back and forth from the present to 1692 against the backdrop of the Salem witch trials. Howe, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University, is the descendant of two accused Salem witches and has herself taught American witchcraft at BU. Pub date is summer 2009; rights have been sold in the U.K., Holland, Italy and Brazil, with pending sales in Germany, France, Spain and Israel. Howe's second novel is untitled and will be set in turn-of-the-century Boston.
Gretchen Young won an auction for The Nine Rooms of Happiness by Self editor Lucy Danziger and Dr. Catherine Birndoff via Mark Reiter, who sold North American rights. Using the metaphor of a nine-room house, each room representing a facet of a woman's life—e.g., study (career), living room (social life), bedroom (love and intimacy)—and drawing on case studies and personal experiences, the authors offer insight into what is holding women back from accepting themselves and their lives as they are. Birndoff is program director of the Payne Whitney Women's Program at Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York. The Voice imprint will publish in early 2010.
In a joint venture with Berkley Books, Rachel Kahan preempted North American rights to EricaBauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients and a second book via Amy Berkower at Writer's House. Bauermeister's debut is about a cooking class run by a mysterious chef whose lessons about food, taste and enjoyment seem to expand beyond the kitchen and into the secret corners of her students' lives. The Seattle-based Bauermeister has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Washington. Putnam will publish in early 2009, with a Berkley paperback to follow in 2010.
Orlean for Kids
Susan Orlean has signed with Abrams Books to write a children's book titled Lazy Little Loafers; Susan Van Metre acquired world rights from Richard Pine. The Orchid Thief author's first book for children is a humorous tale that exposes babies for what they really are: lazy shirkers who just won't get a job. A disgruntled older sibling narrates; based on a New Yorker story Orlean wrote called “Shiftless Little Loafers,” it is set in a baby-filled New York City. G. Brian Karas will illustrate, and Abrams's pub date is fall 2008.
Elliott to Graywolf
Former FSG editor Ethan Nosowsky has made his first acquisition for Graywolf, and it is Stephen Elliott's The Adderall Diaries; Bill Clegg sold North American rights. At once a memoir and a true-crime story, the book will cast a light on the shadowy corners of contemporary culture, following the progress of the San Francisco murder trial of Hans Reiser that echoes in unexpected ways with incidents from the author's own traumatic childhood and adolescence. Elliott is the author of several previous novels, including Happy Baby. Graywolf will publish in spring/summer 2009.
New SMP/Thomas Dunne editor Joel Ariaratnam has acquired North American rights to NamitaDevidayal's The Music Room via Anna Ghosh. A bestseller for Random House India this past fall, this memoir, set mostly in Bombay, is about the hidden world of Indian classical music as revealed through the author's decades-long relationship with her guru. Devidayal explores how traditions and life lessons are passed along generations, and reveals the sacrifices that women in particular have had to make through the ages in order to become artists. Pub date is winter 2009.