Sibling Rivalry

Atria senior editor Greer Hendricks won an auction for a first novel by Sarah Pekkanen titled Way Beyond Compare; Victoria Sanders sold world English rights. Pekkanen, a monthly columnist for Bethesda magazine, will, tongue in cheek, explore low self-esteem, the hunger to succeed and have it all, and the grueling but rewarding bond of sisterhood. Pekannen’s work has been published in a host of newspapers and magazines, and she is also an on-air contributor to NPR. Pub date is early 2010.

Souder on Carson

Harmony executive editor John Glusman has acquired a new book by William Souder titled Days of the World, Years of the World, a biography of Rachel Carson, via Chuck Verrill at Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman. Souder, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of the Birds of America, will explore Carson’s life and legacy in a book scheduled for publication in 2012, the 50th anniversary of her seminal Silent Spring. Harmony has world rights.

Two More from Sittenfeld

Random’s Laura Ford has signed up two new novels by bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep) via Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at the William Morris Agency (Sittenfeld’s former agent, Shana Kelly, left the agency). Ford says it’s too early to talk about the novels’ subjects or pub dates; in the meantime, Sittenfeld has a novel, American Wife, coming from Random in September, inspired by certain events in the life of Laura Bush; it has generated enormous pre-pub buzz, including a New York Times piece by Maureen Dowd. American Wife is the final book in a previous contract Sittenfeld had with Random.

Faith and Science

Jean Thompson Black at Yale University Press bought Christopher Lane’s Failing Gods: A Century of Doubt via Dan O’Connell at the Strothman Agency. The book examines how the great 19th-century scientific discoveries—by Darwin and Lyell, among others—affected faith and changed the Western world; Lane describes how those earlier doubters were able to adapt basic beliefs to accommodate both science and faith. Yale has world rights.

Escape from Tibet

Rick Horgan at Crown has signed up a new book by Stephan Talty titled Flight of the God-King; Scott Waxman sold North American rights in a six-figure deal. Described as part adventure and part political and spiritual quest, the book will recount the Dalai Lama’s 14-day escape from Tibet to India in 1959, during which he had to evade Chinese patrols, climb ice-covered 16,000-foot slopes and suffered a near-fatal bout of dysentery. The Dalai Lama’s Himalayan odyssey was dubbed by the press at the time as “the Story of the Century”; Talty’s account will also consider the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet and the Dalai Lama’s evolution from a cloistered teen to the exiled leader of the Tibetan government. Pub date is 2010; Talty published Empire of Blue Water, on the reign of Captain Morgan, with Crown last year.

The Briefing

Pamela Dorman has made her first acquisition for her new imprint at Viking—a debut by Jane Borodale titled The Book of Fires; Zoe Pagnamenta sold North American rights after Dorman made a preemptive bid. Harper will publish in the U.K., having bought rights to two books.... Cindy Spiegel and Julie Grau bought a memoir by filmmaker Alison Thompson via Laura Yorke and Carol Mann at the Carol Mann Agency. The yet-untitled work will recount Thompson’s experiences of volunteerism, from her childhood as a missionary’s daughter to being among the first responders after 9/11. S&G plans an early 2010 pub date.