DEAL OF THE WEEK

Little, Brown Plucks Harris’s ‘Rose’

Ben George at Little, Brown bought world rights to Nathan Harris’s sophomore novel, The Rose of Jericho. Harris published his debut, The Sweetness of Water, with LB in June, and it went on to become longlisted for the Booker Prize, an Oprah Book Club pick, and a New York Times bestseller. The publisher said the new novel is “a sweeping saga following siblings Coleman and June three years after they have been freed from slavery.” It opens in 1868, a few years after The Sweetness of Water concludes, as the siblings’ former owner has fled Louisiana for Mexico, with June in tow, “on a quixotic mission to form a colony with other Confederate rebels intent on re-creating the antebellum lifestyle to which they were accustomed.” The Rose of Jericho is based loosely on historical records, and the fact that some Confederate supporters fled to Mexico after the Civil War. Emily Forland of Brandt & Hochman represented Harris.

Morrow Goes Big on Moning Trilogy

Morrow’s May Chen acquired U.S., Canadian, and open market rights to three books by bestselling romance and urban fantasy author Karen Marie Moning in a seven-figure deal. Stacy Testa at Writers House represented Moning. The books will make up a new trilogy, the Watch Hill, that the publisher said is “Lives of the Mayfair Witches meets Mexican Gothic, with a dash of True Blood for good measure.” Book one, scheduled for winter 2023, follows a 24-year-old woman who, in order to receive an unexpected inheritance from a distant relative, must live alone in a large, ominous Louisiana manor. Morrow noted that Moning’s Highlander and Fever series have combined to sell roughly nine million English-language copies.

Rowley Does Double at Putnam

Steven Rowley (Lily and the Octopus) sold two novels to Sally Kim at Putnam in a North American rights agreement. The first, The Celebrants, is set for 2023 and, Putnam said, “follows a group of close college friends who, after the suicide of one of their own, form a pact to periodically reunite to throw ‘living funerals’ for each other to remind themselves life is worth living.” However, when a member of the group receives bracing medical news, the friends are forced to “confront secrets from the past and weigh their now-middle-aged lives against the idealistic dreams of their youth.” Rob Weisbach at Rob Weisbach Creative Management represented Rowley.

Viking Buys George Floyd Bio

Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa sold North American rights to a biography of George Floyd to Viking executive editor Ibrahim Ahmad. My Name Is George Floyd, set for May 2022, was acquired from Karen Brailsford and Todd Shuster at Aevitas Creative Management. Viking said the book will “reveal how systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life and legacy—from his family’s roots in the tobacco fields of North Carolina to ongoing inequality in housing, education, healthcare, criminal justice, and policing—telling the singular story of how one man’s tragic experience brought about a global movement of change.” Samuels is a national political reporter and Olorunnipa is a political and investigative reporter at the Post.

Castillo Sells Two to HarperOne

For HarperOne, Tara Parsons preempted North American rights to two books, in English and Spanish, by Ana Castillo. (The English-language editions will be published by the HarperVia imprint, while the Spanish-language titles will be published by HarperCollins Español.) The first is a story collection, Doña Cleanwell Leaves Home, and the second is a dystopian novel titled Isabel 2121. The collection, Parsons explained, is about “the secrets that are kept within households, the behaviors born of patriarchal privilege, and the women they impact the most.” The novel is “loosely based on string theory” and recounts the tale of a woman “who exists simultaneously” in the time of the conquest of Mexico in the early 16th century and in the year 2121. Castillo (So Far from God) was represented by Johanna Castillo at Writers House.

Knopf Nabs Swedish Award Winner

John Freeman at Knopf bought world English rights to Linnea Axelsson’s novel Aednan. The novel in verse won the prestigious August Prize in Axelsson’s native Sweden in 2018. Set for a U.S. release in fall 2022, Aednan, Knopf said, follows “two Indigenous Sámi families in northern Sweden, whose fate mirrors Sámi history from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.” Bonnier rights agent Johanna Lindborg handled the sale.

Tyson Gets ‘Cosmic’ at Holt

Holt’s Tim Duggan bought North American rights to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization. Tyson, a bestselling author and director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium, was represented by Betsy Lerner at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. He said Starry Messenger is about how “a cosmic perspective in our collective thinking can save us from ourselves.” Holt added that in the book, which is set for fall 2022, Tyson “reveals how nearly every thought, opinion, and outlook we have on world affairs can be enriched by knowledge of our place on Earth and in the universe.”

Berkley Lights Feehan’s ‘Fire’

Brian Feehan, son of the bestselling author Christine Feehan, sold world rights to two books to Cindy Hwang at Berkley. The publisher said the first, Harmony of Fire, will launch a paranormal romance series about “ancient beings filled with powerful magic, and the Etherealists, rare humans born with magic and a target for the otherworldly beings who wish to take it.” Steve Axelrod at the Axelrod Agency represented Feehan. Harmony of Fire is slated for summer 2022.

Plantinga Takes It ‘Easy’ at Grand Central

For Grand Central Publishing, Wes Miller preempted world rights to Adam Plantinga’s debut thriller, Nothing Like Easy. Plantinga, a sergeant in the San Francisco Police Department, was represented by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates. The publisher said the book, set for 2024, is “about a Detroit cop forced into early retirement who crosses paths with a corrupt small-town sheriff and finds the system he once represented turned against him.”


A version of this article appeared in the 11/29/2021 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Book Deals

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