Grand Central Lands Mustill’s ‘Whale’

After a six-way auction, Grand Central’s Colin Dickerman won North American rights to Tom Mustill’s How to Speak Whale for six figures. The book was sold by Susanna Lea, who has an eponymous shingle, on behalf of her colleague Kerry Glencourse in London. Lea said How to Speak Whale is “a thrilling investigation into whale science and animal communication” that asks what would happen if animals and humans could meaningfully interact. Mustill is a biologist and Emmy-winning producer who’s worked with, among others, David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.


Winger Goes ‘Old Fashioned’ at Park Row

At auction, Margaret Marbury and Erika Imranyi at Park Row Books won Jill Winger’s Old Fashioned on Purpose in a mid-six-figure North American and open rights deal. Winger (The Prairie Homestead Cookbook) was represented by Anna Petkovich and Sarah Passick at Park & Fine Literary and Media and is the creator of the Prairie Homestead digital brand (which encompasses a podcast, newsletter, and blog that, per Park Row, averages a million monthly page views). The publisher said the book is “a collection of personal stories and lessons learned from life on the homestead, encouraging readers to embrace the joys of old-fashioned living—such as growing your own food and logging offline.”

Bloomsbury Nabs Hunt Collection

National Book Award finalist Laird Hunt sold a currently untitled short story collection to Callie Garnett at Bloomsbury. The book, Bloomsbury said, is “a lapidary portrait of Reagan-era rural life that tracks a group of achingly real and restless characters through one summer day in an Indiana farming town in 1982.” Anna Stein at ICM Partners brokered the North American rights agreement.

Mollen Gets Satirical at Nacelle

The debut novel City of Like by Jenny Mollen was acquired by the recently created NacelleBooks division at Nacelle Company, which produces and distributes scripted and unscripted films and TV shows, including the Netflix series Down to Earth with Zac Efron. Mollen, an actor and bestselling author (Live Fast and Die Hot), was represented by Haley Heidemann at William Morris Endeavor. The publisher called the book a satire about “the seductive allure of social media, as well as an unsettling portrait of female relationships, motherhood, and our ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ culture.”

Scribner Wins Cotman’s Debut Novel

Elwin Cotman’s The Age of Ignorance was acquired by Kathy Belden at Scribner for six figures after a multi-house auction. The debut novel, Scribner said, is “a dramedy about the friendship between two Black transient punks seeking to find themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area while dealing with the anger and protest following a racially motivated murder at the hands of the police.” Cotman, who’s written three short story collections (including Dance on a Saturday, which was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020), was represented in the North American rights agreement by Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group.

Stephens Comes ‘Clean’ for St. Martin’s

Bestseller Gin Stephens (Fast, Feast, Repeat) inked a world English rights, two-book deal with Elizabeth Beier at St. Martin’s Griffin. The first title under contract, Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body’s Natural Ability to Self-Clean, is set for January 2022 and, Griffin said, strives to help readers “focus on real foods and a healthier home environment free of obvious toxins.” The second book in the deal is currently untitled. Jaidree Braddix at Park & Fine Literary and Media represented Stephens.