Jesmyn Ward Re-ups with Scribner

Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has signed a three-book, world English rights deal with her longtime editor, Scribner editorial director Kathryn Belden. Rob McQuilkin of Massie & McQuilkin negotiated the deal. The first book is an essay collection, On Witness and Respair. Scribner said the collection, which will be published in 2025, will highlight Ward’s most important short nonfiction work, including the title essay—a National Magazine Award finalist first published in Vanity Fair—about the loss of her partner in 2020. The essay collection will be followed by two novels, set for publication in 2027 and 2029.

Summit Returns with Buzzworthy Debut

In the first acquisition for the newly relaunched Summit Books, publisher Judy Clain has preempted world English rights to Rob Franklin’s Great Black Hope. Executive editor Laura Perciasepe will edit. The deal was brokered by Ellen Levine and Audrey Crooks at Trident Media Group. Summit called the book a “propulsive, glittering” debut novel about “race, class, addiction, and love in all its complicated forms,” adding that it follows a young Black man “caught up in the elite underbelly of East Coast privilege” after the mysterious death of his close friend and his arrest for cocaine possession ignite “a stunning chain reaction.” Publication is planned for 2025.

Cross Sells Historical Romance to Europa

Europa Editions editor-in-chief Michael Reynolds has acquired North American rights to Amanda by H.S. Cross (Grievous). Alice Tasman at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency negotiated the deal. Tasman said the novel is set in 1920s London and tells a love story involving two “damaged” young people: “Marion, who has escaped an abusive husband, and Jamie, who has returned from World War I shell-shocked.” Publication is set for fall 2025.

Princeton Takes ‘Time’ with BBC’s Al-Khalili

Ingrid Gnerlich at Princeton University Press has acquired world rights to An Exploration of Time, by BBC host and author Jim Al-Khalili. The deal was handled by Patrick Walsh of PEW Literary Agency. Princeton said the book is “the outcome of a major international research project called The Arrow of Time, led by Al-Khalili in collaboration with leading theoretical physicists and philosophers of physics,” and will offer readers “a cutting-edge understanding of the laws of physics” that will “forever change the way we think about the passage of time and our place within it.” An Exploration of Time will be published in 2025.

Atria Buys Prout’s “Radical Argument”

Jenny Xu at Atria has preempted world rights to Life and Death in the Loop, by Chicago Reader reporter Katie Prout. Atria called the book “a radical argument for reevaluating housing and drug policies in America, outlined through the lives of seven unhoused individuals searching for stability and survival in Chicago and through the lens of the author’s own family experiences with addiction and economic precarity.” Prout was represented by Danielle Bukowski at Sterling Lord Literistic. Atria will publish the book in fall 2026.

Bantam Lands Crump’s Fiction Debut

Bantam executive editor Jenny Chen has acquired North American rights to two novels by prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump. The deal was negotiated by Georgia Bodnar at UTA and Cameron S. Mitchell from the Artistry Collective. Bantam said the as-yet-untitled books are the first in a new crime fiction series featuring Beau Lee Cooper, “a Black civil rights attorney who tackles heart-wrenching cases of corruption and injustice while celebrating Black love, joy, and resilience.” The publisher added that the books “will emphasize the power of blood ties, community bonds in the face of violence, and will offer hope for a better future.” A publication date for the series has not yet been announced.