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Fierce auctions among a busy day of Frankfurt dealmaking

A memoir from Billy Idol, two six way auctions and the latest title from Man Booker winner Alan Hollinghurst were among the day two rights highlights at Frankfurt Book Fair.

Colin Midson at Simon & Schuster bought UK rights to a self-authored memoir by White Wedding singer Billy Idol. Dancing by Myself was acquired at auction from Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. WME colleague Kirby Kim also sold US rights to Stacy Creamer at Touchstone in a “big” six-figure deal.

John Murray won a six-way auction for world English rights to Let Not the Waves of the Sea by Simon Stephenson. Hannah Westland, agent at Rogers, Coleridge & White, made the deal with publishing director Eleanor Burn at John Murray. RCW will be selling translation rights at the fair. Simon’s brother, Dominic, was killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Westland said: “The title is about coming to terms with that death, about brothers, growing up, tsunami science and many other things in between.”

The day's other six way auction was won by Lynne Drew at HarperCollins. Drew secured UK and Commonwealth rights, including serial and audio, to Wife 22 by New York Times bestselling memoirist Melanie Gideon. She bought the rights from Elizabeth Sheinkman at Curtis Brown, with rights sold in Brazil, Israel, Portugal and Italy and an eight-way German auction continuing. Published in spring 2012, the book is about a woman who agrees to participate anonymously in an internet study on 21st-century marriage.

At Picador, Paul Baggaley acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst from Antony Harwood at Antony Harwood Ltd. Published in September 2011, the story follows the lives of two families from the eve of the First World War to the end of the 20th century. Baggaley, Hollinghurst’s editor at Picador, said: “Alan has given us a book that is even more beautifully written and with an even greater canvas than anything before.” North American rights have been acquired by Knopf through Christy Fletcher of Fletcher & Company acting on behalf of Antony Harwood Ltd.

Scholastic Children’s Books bought world rights to a new novel by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle. Scholastic imprint Marion Lloyd Books bought the rights to A Greyhound of a Girl, which tells the story of 12-year-old Mary O’Hara and four generations of her family. The rights were acquired from John Sutton at John Sutton Management and it will be published as an illustrated hardback next September.

Atlantic Books acquired world rights, excluding Poland, to Ice by Jacek Dukaj, a “philosophical and historical adventure”. Nic Cheetham, publishing director at imprint Corvus, bought the rights directly from Pawel Ciemniewski at Wydawnictwo Literackie, Dukaj’s Polish publishers. Corvus plans to publish Ice, which won the Polityka Prize for the “Most Important Polish novel of the last 20 years”, in June 2012.

Faber bought début novel Narcropolis by Jeet Thayil, set in 1970s Bombay and Mao’s China. Lee Brackstone, publishing director fiction at Faber, bought UK and Commonwealth rights including Canada and India through David Godwin at DGA. Faber will publish in March 2012.

At Blue Door, publisher Patrick Janson-Smith  won a “fiercely fought” auction for British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to Maggie Shipstead’s début, Seating Arrangements, from Fletcher & Co in New York. Foreign rights have been auctioned in France (Belfond); Holland (De Bezige Bij); Italy (Neri Pozza); and Germany (DTV).

Hodder & Stoughton  acquired a zombie thriller, approaching the author directly after hearing his work was gathering a loyal fan base online. Francine Toon, editorial assistant at H&S, snapped up world rights to début novel The Return Man by V M Zito. It will be published as a paperback original in March 2012.

Sticking with H&S, it also acquired world rights to Wink Murder by début novelist Ali Knight. Fiction publisher Carolyn Mays bought the title through Peter Straus at RCW, with H&S now selling rights at the FBF. Jason Bartholomew, rights director at Hodder and Headline, said: “We have two fierce auctions in Germany and Holland and a first offer from a US publisher on the table.” Hodder plans to publish the book, a suspense thriller, in April 2011.

Collins bought two technology-focused books for publication in autumn 2011 and 2012 respectively. Publisher Hannah MacDonald pre-emptively bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Battle of the Titans by Fred Vogelstein from Devon Mazzone at FSG. The book will look at Apple and Google’s battle for world domination and will be published in autumn 2012. MacDonald, along with editor Helena Nicholls, also bought world rights to two books by David McCandless from Simon Trewin at United Agents. The first book, Knowledge is Beautiful, will be published in October 2011 and is “a deeper, wider-ranging look at the world and its history”.

Preface publishing director Rosie de Courcy has signed world rights to a trilogy by British historian James Aitcheson. She struck the deal direct with the 25-year-old author, with the first novel, Sworn Sword, featuring Tancred, a young and ambitious Norman solider. Preface will publish in August 2011, with an Arrow paperback the following year.

Myriad Editions fiction editor Vicky Blunden has acquired the rights to 4 a.m., the début by Nina de la Mer, directly from the author. The title is set on a British army base in Germany and describes a seedy world of recreational drugs and all-night raves. The title will be published next autumn.

Nick Garrison and Nicole Winstanley at Hamish Hamilton Canada won Canadian rights at auction to a début short story collection and novel by UK resident and British Columbia native D W Wilson. The two-book deal was with Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown. HHC will publish the collection, Once You Break a Knuckle, in 2011.

Diane Banks at Diane Banks Associates sold US and Canadian rights to “a pet memoir with a difference” to Becca Hunt at Penguin, to be published on the Plume list in autumn 2011. The book, Sex & the Kitty, is an ironic swipe at modern celebrity narrated by “Nancy Smalltown-Cat”, as she tries to become a MIAOW (model, icon, actress, or whatever).