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FBF Day 1: rights round-up

A flurry of rights deals have been announced at Frankfurt Book Fair, including a memoir by BBC Radio 2 DJ Jeremy Vine and the history of Britain told through postal stamps.

Michael Joseph has acquired world English-language rights to a title by a German high-profile lawyer turned bestselling author. Editorial director Stefanie Bierwerth snapped up the rights to The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach, with plans to publish in autumn 2012.

It is von Schirach’s first novel and focuses on a court case in Berlin in 2001 about the murder of a German industrialist. The plot also draws on the events of Nazi Germany, with von Schirach using family experiences as his grandfather was head of the Hitler Youth for most of the 1930s and was sentenced to 20 years for crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials.

Bierwerth said: “I’ve been looking for a novel that could connect my two worlds—my German upbringing as well as my new life in the English-speaking world. The Collini Case is exactly that book. A truly exceptional piece of fiction, it offers its reader an utterly unputdownable, page-turning thriller."

Two débuts offered by Darley Anderson’s Madeleine Buston are attracting a lot of global attention, with Emma Garcia’s Never Google Heartbreak sold to Hodder, and C J Daugherty’s Night School to be published by Atom UK, garnering “stellar worldwide interest". For Never Google Heartbreak Buston has accepted major pre-empts from Blanvalet, MA, Luitingh-Sijthoff, Yeodith/Miskal, Piemme, Bertrand Brasil, Alnari and Sonia Draga, with further offers in from Croatia and Russia. Night School has attracted multiple offers from the US, Germany and Brazil, with offers coming from Poland, Serbia, Russia and the Netherlands, and deals done in France, Spain and Israel. Buston said: “In my seven years in rights, I have never encountered such worldwide enthusiasm."

Hutchinson publishing director Jocasta Hamilton has made her first acquisition for the imprint, buying The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. Hamilton acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, through Claire Roberts at Trident. Hamilton said: “The characters of Hattie and her 11 children are devastatingly vivid and provide a snapshot of America over the last century."

Simon & Schuster has acquired a memoir by BBC journalist and broadcaster Jeremy Vine. Non-fiction commissioning editor Colin Midson snapped up UK and Commonwealth rights from Alex Armitage at Noel Gay, with publication of It’s All News to Me planned for June 2012. Midson said the memoir was “full of extraordinary stories".

Square Peg has signed and sealed a deal for a history of Britain told through postage stamps, with editor Rowan Yapp buying UK and Commonwealth rights to First Class: A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps by Chris West through Diane Banks. It will be published in June 2012, charting Britain from Dickens to punk.

Harvill Secker will be publishing the second volume of Kenyan social activist Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s memoirs. Publishing director Liz Foley acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to In The House of the Interpreter through Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein on behalf of Gloria Loomis. The volume, to be published in September 2012, will cover the author’s schooldays in 1950s Kenya.

Sphere has poached bestselling crime author Richard Montanari from Cornerstone, with associate publisher Daniel Mallory winning world English rights to three novels through Peggy Gordijn at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, making the deal on behalf of Meg Ruley.

Headline has sold US rights to Jennifer Weis at St Martin’s Press to The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch, with the rights going for a “strong six-figure pre-empt". Headline plans to publish the title, billed as a “South-African The Help", in spring 2013, and has also sold rights to the début in Italy and Holland.

Faber has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada and India, to the fourth novel by Nadeem Aslam. Editor Angus Cargill did the deal with Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency for the novel, The Blind Man’s Garden, which opens in Pakistan in October 2001 and follows the story of two foster brothers. Cargill described it as harrowing and moving.

Quercus has bought It’s All About the Dog: Life, Love and War with the World’s Bravest Dog by Dave Heyhoe and Damien Lewis. Non-fiction publishing director Richard Milner bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Annabel Merullo at PFD. The book tells the story of the world’s most decorated dog, Treo, handler Heyhoe, and the bond they forged in Afghanistan.

Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown has sold world rights to Penguin Press in a book by 26-year-old Guardian journalist Jack Shenker about the rise of modern Egypt. Allen Lane publishing director Helen Conford pre-empted the rights, with a release date and title to be confirmed. She said it promised “to transcend instant accounts and launch a new voice".

Frankfurt Book Fair Daily: Day 1