DEAL OF THE WEEK
The Ice Man Cometh... to S&S
Actor Val Kilmer sold his memoir, I’m Your Huckleberry, to Simon & Schuster. Sean Manning took world rights to the title from agent David Vigliano at Vigliano Associates. S&S said the actor, whose credits include starring roles in The Doors and Tombstone, will recount “his acclaimed career, his high-profile romances, his spiritual journey,” and “details of his recent throat cancer diagnosis and recovery.” Manning added that Kilmer is “a gifted storyteller” who is “astoundingly well-read,” and the book, in addition to detailing his life in Hollywood, replete with “tantalizing celebrity anecdotes,” also showcases his “exquisite writing.” I’m Your Huckleblerry (a reference to a line in Tombstone) is set for April 2020, to coincide with the release of Top Gun: Maverick (the sequel to 1986’s Top Gun), in which Kilmer reprises his role as Tom “Ice Man” Kazansky.
FROM THE U.S.
Prejean’s ‘Dead Man’ to Go Graphic
Andrea Walker at Random House took world rights to a graphic adaptation of Dead Man Walking. The nonfiction book, by Helen Prejean, was originally released by Random House in 1993. In the work, which went on to become a national bestseller and the basis for a same-titled film, Prejean, a Roman Catholic sister, chronicles her experience as the spiritual advisor to two men on death row. The graphic work, which is being credited to Prejean and Rose Vines, will feature art by Catherine Anyango Grünewald, who illustrated a 2010 graphic adaptation of Heart of Darkness. Citing the timeliness of returning to Prejean’s work, RH said the title “changed the national discourse about the death penalty.” Julia Masnik at Watkins Loomis brokered the agreement with Walker.
Morrow Gets ‘Lit’ with Karp
After a six-bidder auction, Cassie Jones at William Morrow won U.S., Canadian, and open market rights to Jeffrey Karp’s Lit. The book, subtitled A Medical Biohacker Reveals 7 Shortcuts to Greatness, is being touted by Morrow as a science-backed guide to “bring our thinking, creativity, concentration, and stamina to the next level.” Karp is a professor of medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Morrow said the book is based on “extensive research and interviews with famous high-performing individuals.” Heather Jackson, who has an eponymous shingle, represented Karp.
Atta’s ‘Flamingo’ Lands at Balzer + Bray
After an auction, Alessandra Balzer at Balzer + Bray won North American rights to Dean Atta’s The Black Flamingo. Atta is a celebrated British poet (who made the Independent’s list of the 100 most influential LGBTQ people in the U.K. in 2012). The book, according to B+B, is “a fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag.” Susannah Palfrey at Hachette Children’s Book Group handled the North American rights agreement on behalf of the author’s primary agent, Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock. Flamingo is slated for spring 2020.
HC Gets Novel by ‘The Jerk’ Screenwriter
In a North American rights deal, HarperCollins’s Sara Nelson bought You Can Go Home Now by Michael Elias. The author is an actor and director who wrote the screenplay for the Steve Martin–starring film The Jerk. Home, a thriller that HC compared to work by Tana French and Karin Slaughter, follows a New York City police officer who, while searching for a killer, goes undercover at a women's shelter. The move, HC said, forces her to recognize “that she has her own history of violence that needs to be addressed.” Caroline Michel at Peters Fraser + Dunlop represented Elias. Home is set for June 2020.
Penguin Nabs Bedtime Book for Adults
A collection of stories designed to lull their readers to sleep sold to Meg Leder at Penguin Books (in a copublication agreement with Penguin Canada) for six figures. The deal for Nothing Much Happens by Kathryn Nicolai was handled by Jackie Kaiser at Canada’s Westwood Creative Artists. Westwood described the book, subtitled Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups, as “a deceptively simple, brilliantly conceived collection of brief fictional stories written with the precise intention of carrying readers off to a peaceful and restorative slumber.” The book is based on Nicolai’s podcast of the same name, which the agency said has garnered more than 10 million downloads to date. The agency also reported that, in the run-up to the Frankfurt Book Fair last month, international deals for the book had closed in more than 10 other territories, with a number of the sales being auctions.
Smallwood’s ‘Mind’ Goes to Hogarth
Christine Smallwood’s debut novel, The Life of the Mind, was preempted by Alexis Washam at Hogarth. Chris Parris-Lamb at the Gernert Company brokered the North American rights agreement for Smallwood, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Hogarth said the book follows an adjunct professor “whose days are disrupted by a miscarriage, forcing her to reckon with shame, relationships, the passage of time, the meaning of endings, and the illusion that our minds may free us from our bodies.”
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that that the central character in Michael Elias' You Can Go Home Now goes undercover at a homeless shelter. She goes undercover at a women's shelter.