Braman’s First for Holt

Holt’s new editor-in-chief, Marjorie Braman, has made her first fiction buy in her new position, preempting Diane Meier’s untitled debut via Mitchell Waters at Curtis Brown. This is the story of a divorced Columbia professor who takes a job in New England and impetuously buys a rundown Victorian house; as she reinvents her life, she finds her emotional landscape similarly changed. Holt has world rights and will publish in spring 2010.

Braman also bought a nonfiction work by Jon Franklin titled The Wolf in the Parlor via Geri Thoma at Elaine Markson, who sold North American rights. After a prenuptial negotiation, Pulitzer-winning science writer Franklin found himself living with a dog for the first time. In the book, he’ll examine the domestication of the dog, while also discussing subjects as far-ranging as psychological evolution and neurochemistry.

Hot Debuts for Howard and Hruska

Gerald Howard at Doubleday bought U.S. rights to Trevor Byrne’s first novel, Ghosts and Lightning, via Jennifer Joel at ICM on behalf of her U.K. colleague Karolina Sutton. The book offers a high-octane portrait of 21st-century Dublin—demented house parties, run-ins with Gypsies and a DIY exorcism—through the story of a man who returns from abroad to his native Ireland for a family funeral; it’s already been praised by Roddy Doyle. Byrne, 27, has a master’s of philosophy from the University of Glamorgan in Wales, where he now teaches creative writing. Canongate bought U.K. and translation rights, and has already accepted a preempt in Italy.

Laura Hruska at Soho Press has acquired U.S. rights to 24 for 3, a debut novel by Jennie Walker via Denise Shannon on behalf of Antony Topping at Greene & Heaton. The book, which features cricket as one of its metaphors, unfolds over five days of a test match between England and India as a woman moves between a husband and a lover. Walker is a pseudonym for the poet Charles Boyle, who originally published the book himself under his own CB Editions; it later attracted notice in the Guardian, where Topping discovered it (Topping later deduced that Walker was, in fact, Boyle—which is now part of the publicity mythology attached to the book, preempted by Bloomsbury in the U.K. and published there last month). The book’s fans include Mick Jagger, who blurbed the U.K. edition. Soho, which will publish in fall 2009, will be changing the book’s title, which refers to a cricket score.

Means to Faber

Faber and Faber publisher Mitzi Angel has acquired a new short story collection by David Means in her second joint acquisition for U.S. and U.K. rights with Lee Brackstone in London. The currently untitled work will be Means’s fourth story collection; the deal includes a second book to follow. Means’s Assorted Fire Events (2004), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was the first book Angel published in her previous position at Fourth Estate. Andrew Wylie represented Means in the negotiations, and pub date is early 2010.

Armstrong Revealed

Da Capo editor Kevin Hanover preempted world rights to John Wilcockson’sLance Armstrong: A Candid Portrait of the World’s Greatest Champion via James Levine at Levine Greenberg. Wilcockson, who wrote 23 Days in July, a 2004 book published by Da Capo about Armstrong’s record-breaking Tour de France victory, has the athlete’s cooperation and access to his inner circle for this project, which aims to be the definitive story of Armstrong’s multifaceted life. Da Capo plans to publish in July 2009 to coincide with Armstrong’s return to the Tour de France.