Book Deals: Week of August 26, 2019

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DEAL OF THE WEEK

King’s ‘Guardian’ Protects Scribner

For mid-six-figures, Colin Harrison at Scribner nabbed Dean King’s Guardian of the Valley, a nonfiction book about John Muir’s fight to preserve Yosemite. Harrison bought North American rights to the book from Dorian Karchmar at William Morris Endeavor after what she described as a “heated” auction. The work is subtitled The Story of John Muir and the Friendship That Saved Yosemite and, per the agency, it explores how the 19th-century nature writer and explorer teamed up with his editor at Century magazine to “defeat the twin forces of corporate greed and government corruption and save Yosemite Valley from destruction.” The agency added that the effort “changed the face of the rapidly industrializing nation and launched the modern environmentalist movement.” King is the author of, among other books, 2013’s The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys (Little, Brown).

FROM THE U.S.

Chee Takes ‘Free’ to HMH

After an auction, Catherine Onder at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt won world rights to Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free. Chee, the author of the bestselling The Reader series, presents here, HMH said, a YA “novel-in-stories” that examines the mass incarcerations of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. during WWII. Told from the perspective of, as HMH explained, “a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese-American citizens,” the novel offers 14 perspectives on the internment camps, giving “a deep, multifaceted look into the ways the currents of history both fragmented these young people’s relationships as well as brought them closer together.” Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Agency sold the novel, which is slated for June 2020.

Grove Preempts Booker Contender

For Grove Atlantic, Peter Blackstock preempted North American rights to the Booker-longlisted novel Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. The book, sold by Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander, is being rushed by Grove and will be released as a Black Cat paperback original on December 3. (The Booker shortlist will be announced on September 3, and the winner of the literary prize will be unveiled on October 14.) The novel, Grove said, “follows an interconnected group of black British women whose very different lives intersect, and whose sexuality, age, class, and other identities both separate and connect them.”

Gallery Nabs Medium’s Memoir

In a deal for a book by a man the publisher calls “America’s top psychic medium,” Gallery Books bought Matt Fraser’s When Heaven CallsJeremie Ruby-Strauss took world rights to the book from Imal Wagner at Phoenix Rising PR. Fraser, S&S said, regularly mounts sold-out shows across the country; he is also set to star in his own reality show, E!’s forthcoming Meet the Frasers. The memoir is set for March 2020 and will, S&S explained, detail how the author “discovered his spiritual gift, what it’s like to connect with souls on the other side, and what communicating with the dead has taught him about embracing life.”

Kentucky DJ Sells McConnell Book

The owner, founder, and on-air host of Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR), Matt Jones, sold Mitch, Please! to Simon & Schuster. Jonathan Karp bought world rights, from CAA, to the book, which will be edited by Amar Deol and is set for a March 2020 release. S&S said the title will feature “stories from each of the 120 counties in the state, highlighting how the five-time senator and current senate majority leader has failed Kentuckians, economically and socially, over the last three decades.” Jones has a significant platform for the book, according to S&S, which said that KSR has a “rabid following” among University of Kentucky Wildcats fans. The house added that Jones has used KSR, which is in 37 markets, to “discuss politics as well as sports.” (After this deal was announced, Jones lost his job as the host of Hey Kentucky! on WLEX TV.)

Harper Buys Lauder Memoir

At Harper Business, Hollis Heimbouch took world rights to a memoir by Leonard Lauder. The beauty industry mogul and philanthropist was represented by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly, and the book, set for 2020, is currently untitled. Lauder’s mother, Estée Lauder, famously founded her eponymous company in her kitchen in 1946. Now, per Harper, Estee Lauder is one of the world’s leading beauty product manufacturers and a “global empire.” Harper said the memoir will offer “an insider’s account of building a global empire” and stand as “a business book with pragmatic lessons on business, philanthropy, leadership, and life.”

Debut YA ‘Undoing’ to Philomel

Philomel’s Liza Kaplan preempted North American rights to a debut YA novel by Kate NorrisThe Art of Undoing was sold by Lara Perkins at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency; she said the book is a work of historical science fiction that follows a 16-year-old who “witnesses a tragedy and is accidentally pulled into another universe­—one that already has another version of herself in it.” Set for fall 2021, the work, Perkins added, was pitched as “Sliding Doors meets Code Name Verity.”

MOVIE DEALS

●The Swedish nonfiction book Spotify Untold (Albert Bonniers Förlag) has been optioned for film by Yellow Bird UK, a British-based production company. The book, which chronicles the rise of the music start-up Spotify, was written by Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud; it’s also currently in development as a limited series. Eleonoora Kirk at Bonnier Rights brokered the sale.

● Bloodleaf (HMH Books for Young Readers, Mar.) by Crystal Smith has been optioned by Cavalry Media (House of Cards) for series development. PW called the YA novel a “rich mythology and affecting love story.”

INTERNATIONAL DEALS

● The Finnish novel My Friend Natalia by Laura Lindstedt has been acquired in the U.S. by Liveright. The W.W. Norton imprint took North American rights to the book in a deal brokered by Rhea Lyons at Hannigan, Salky, Getzler on behalf of Elina Ahlback Literary Agency.

●Football, ahem, soccer star Vincent Kompany inked a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster UK. The Bookseller reported that the just-retired Manchester City player (who is now player-manager at Anderlecht) sold world rights to an autobiography and a book titled Treble Triumph. The latter explores Manchester City’s 2018–2019 season, in which it won the Premier League title, FA Cup, and League Cup.

 

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