Brooks’s ‘Devolution’ to Del Rey

Max Brooks, author of the smash hit World War Z, will release a new novel in spring 2020 about the Bigfoot legend. Devolution, originally acquired a few years ago by then-Crown publisher Molly Stern, has just been announced as a forthcoming Del Rey title. (Stern left Del Rey parent Penguin Random House in December 2018, after the Crown and Random House divisions were merged.) PRH said Julian Pavia worked with Stern on the deal, and now he and Sarah Peed will be editing the title together. Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown Ltd. brokered the North American rights acquisition on behalf of Brooks. Del Rey described the novel as a “found-document” work that “chronicles a horrific Sasquatch attack on an isolated Pacific Northwest eco-community.” When asked why the announcement is coming well after the acquisition, PRH said the news was held until “a cover, excerpt, and publication date were ready to release.”


Lit Prof Sells Romance Trilogy

After a three-house auction, Kate Seaver at Berkley won world rights, for six figures, to a historical romance trilogy by Joanna Ruocco. The author, represented by Tara Gelsomino at One Track Literary Agency, is a writing professor at Wake Forest University and a Pushcart Prize winner. Gelsomino said Ruocco, who’s writing the series under the pen name Joanna Lowell, is “somewhat renowned in the experimental literary fiction world” and will mix her literary instincts with “commercial tropes” for the books. The series is set in Victorian-era London and follows an art student who, Gelsomino explained, “paints a scandalous nude portrait of a stranger only to discover her muse is actually the Duke of Weston.” The first book in the trilogy is set for spring 2021.

McKinney Closes Treble at Imprint

For Macmillan’s Imprint, Weslie Turner nabbed world rights to three books by L.L. McKinney. Under the deal, McKinney will write two young adult titles and a middle grade title; the latter will mark the author’s middle grade debut. Macmillan said the MG novel “follows a black girl gamer who discovers that she’s the reincarnated King Arthur and must find her knights before she can face off against the evil Morgana.” The two YA novels will be part of McKinney’s Nightmare-Verse series; A Crown So Cursed, set for fall 2020, will be the third entry in the series. The other YA title will be a series prequel. Victoria Marini at the Irene Goodman Agency represented McKinney.

NBA Winner Fights Racism at Kokila

Kokila’s Namrata Tripathi bought world rights to two books by National Book Award–winner Ibram X. Kendi. The first title, the board book Antiracist Baby, will be illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. (Kendi’s recently released How to Be an Antiracist is a current bestseller.) Kokila said the book will “empower parents and the youngest children to discuss and uproot racism in our society and in ourselves”; it’s scheduled for summer 2020. The second title, Goodnight Racism, does not yet have a publication date. Ayesha Pande at Pande Literary represented Kendi, while Wendi Gu at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates represented Lukashevsky.

Candlewick Buys Pride Picture Book

In a world rights deal, Katie Cunningham at Candlewick Press bought a picture book titled ‘Twas the Night Before Pride. Clelia Gore at Martin Literary & Media Management represented author Joanna McClintick, saying the book, set the night before the Pride March, follows “a queer family preparing for the next day’s festivities, remembering the technicolor revelry of years past... and reaffirming just what it means to have pride.” Set for spring 2022, the book will be illustrated by Juana Medina; she was represented by Gillian MacKenzie at MacKenzie Wolf.

For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.