LB Lands Two Debuts

Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch acquired North American rights, at auction, to the debut novel by Chad Harbach, a co-editor of the literary magazine n+1 (where authors Benjamin Kunkel and Keith Gessen are also on staff). Set at a fictional college in a baseball-obsessed area of Wisconsin, the book is about “love, youth, ambition, family, and sports,” LB says, and follows the travails of the college's president, his troubled daughter, and a talented shortstop on the school's squad. Chris Parris-Lamb at the Gernert Agency closed the deal for Harbach.

Betting on another young literary writer, LB's Andrea Walker, in her first acquisition for Reagan Arthur Books, bought North American rights to the debut short story collection by Iowa Writers' Workshop grad (and Truman Capote Fellow) Stuart Nadler, The Book of Life. PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit brokered the deal, and two of the stories, all of which focus on the lives of American Jews in our newest century, will appear in forthcoming issues of the Atlantic Monthly.

Dorman Gets 'True'

Pamela Dorman bought North American rights, for her eponymous imprint at Penguin, to Juliette Fay's Deep Down True. Theresa Park of Park Literary brokered the deal for Fay, who also wrote Shelter Me (Avon), a Bookmarked Club pick at Target and an Indie Next pick. In Deep Down, which is slated for February 2011, a suburban mom has her life upended when, at 45, her marriage falls apart, she must face her children's growing problems, and she has to re-enter the workforce. Per Penguin, the paperback original is “about family, friendship, and the unlikely ties that bind.”

Girl Meets Dog

Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor closed a deal with Holt for a book, spun off of Jill Abramson's 2009 column posted on her blog for the New York Times, chronicling the first year she spent raising her golden retriever puppy, Scout. Paul Golob of Holt's Times Books imprint bought North American rights to the title at auction. The Puppy Diaries, scheduled for fall 2011, grew out of, in part, the response Abramson's column received. According to Holt, Abramson, a managing editor at the Times, was inundated with e-mails (many including photos) after the story ran, and those photos, collected in an online album, went on to become the most visited photo album the paper posted in 2009. The book will be part memoir and part reportorial investigation, touching on various aspects of dog ownership. Macmillan editor-at-large John Sterling will edit.

Flying Too Close to Land

Anthony Ziccardi, at Threshold Editions, pre-empted world rights to a memoir called A Nightmare's Prayer by Marine pilot Michael Franzak. The book will be the first, according to the S&S imprint, written by a Marine Harrier pilot—those who fly a type of plane designed to stay close to ground action to support foot soldiers. Franzak, who flew a Harrier in Afghanistan, will write about his squad, the VMA-513 (a long-running unit of the Marine Corps established in the '40s and known as “The Flying Nightmares”), and his experiences as an attack pilot from 2002 through 2003. Agent E.J. McCarthy sold the book, and Threshold is planning a June 2010 release.

Gottfried Unbound

Marc Resnick at St. Martin's Press took North American rights to a currently untitled humor book by comedian Gilbert Gottfried. Dan Strone at Trident Media brokered the deal for Gottfried, and the book will be the funny man's first, a compilation of musings and monologues ranging from personal stories to cultural observations. SMP is planning a 2011 publication.

Machinist Closes Two

Linda Chester agent Alexandra Machinist closed two deals last week. The first was for Good Company: Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us, a book by the founders of In Good Company Workplaces, Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams. Adrienne Schultz at Portfolio took world rights to the book, a best practices guide, geared to women, on making any business viable. Lancaster and Abrams's company is a consulting firm that also provides networking services and actual work spaces. Machinist also sold world English rights, at auction, to Beatriz Williams's novel, Oversea. Rachel Kahan at Putnam bought the book, which Machinist described as “Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong meets Diana Gabaldon's Outlander,” and Berkley is partnering as the paperback publisher. Rights have also been pre-empted in Germany and the Netherlands.


Last week's column incorrectly cited a deal Denise Shannon closed on a photography book featuring Patti Smith and sold to Abrams. Smith is not the author of that title; the book is by Judy Linn.