Amid strong pre-LBF buying, Headline’s Alex Clarke has snapped up a high-concept début thriller by Faber Academy graduate Felicia Yap for a “healthy” six-figure sum. Clarke secured UK and Commonwealth rights in a heated auction handled by Jonny Geller, joint c.e.o. of Curtis Brown.
Three publishers battled it out in the final round in an auction for rights to The Day After Yesterday. It is Clarke’s first fiction acquisition for his as-yet-unnamed new imprint after he moved to Headline from Michael Joseph, where he was publishing director.
Author Yap, who read biochemistry at Imperial College London, was earlier involved in an eight-agent auction to represent her work. Her debut is described as “Before I Go To Sleep in the world of ‘Minority Report’”.
The pitch reads: “Imagine a world where your memory stopped working after the age of 18? Like the iCloud, your memory just becomes 'full'. Imagine a world where most people (Monos) can only remember the past 24 hours and must keep e-diaries to remind them what they did, what they felt and who they loved? Imagine now a murder investigation of a dead woman where the shadow of suspicion falls on a husband. What would the wife feel?”
Clarke said: “We are hugely excited to have signed up our first novelist for the new imprint we’re setting up here at Headline. The Day After Yesterday is an extraordinary début novel, with a remarkable and inventive concept – woven into an intense and compelling psychological drama. Felicia is a real talent, her writing is thought-provoking, original and extremely addictive.”
Yesterday (6th April) Alexandra Machinist at ICM sold US rights to Josh Kendall at Mulholland on behalf of Geller. There is an ongoing auction in Germany, offers from France and Spain this week, as well as film offers coming in, Geller said.
Among other pre-Fair acquisitions, Michael Joseph has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights including audio to Everything But The Truth, a début novel from Gilly McAllister. The acquisition, part of a two-book deal, was agreed with Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson Literary Agency. Dutch, Polish and Russian rights have also since sold. The story follows newly-pregnant Rachel, who slowly begins to realise that her boyfriend Jack is hiding a huge secret about his past. Acquiring editor Kimberley Atkins called it "compulsive storytelling at its very best”.
Quercus has acquired world English rights in a new novel by Costa winner Stef Penney, publishing in November this year and touted her "triumphant return to historical fiction with a soaring, epic love story”, Under a Pole Star. The agent was Diana Tyler at MBA Literary and Script Agents.
Also in a pre-LBF deal, Karen Sullivan, publisher of Orenda Books, won world English language rights to Norwegian crime writer Kjell Ola Dahl’s next two titles in the Gunnarstranda series. The deal was negotiatied with Anne Cathrin Eng of Gyldendal Agency. The two titles, The Faithful Friends and The Ice Swimmer, will be published in 2017.
Meanwhile in non-fiction, Canongate’s c.e.o Jamie Byng has acquired If I Could Tell You Just One Thing by Innocent Drinks founder Richard Reed, in the run up to London Book Fair, which will lead the company’s autumn 2016 list. The title tells of encounters with remarkable people and their advice for life, and is illustrated by Sam Kerr. Byng acquired world rights from Anthony Topping at Greene and Heaton.
Byng said: “Books sometimes get described as maps for life, guiding the heart and the head, as the reader is led to places both new and familiar. If I Could Tell You Just One Thing… gathers so many smart guides into one place and, like good advice, is something that I think will be given, received and shared the world over.”
Hannah Black at Hodder & Stoughton has snatched world rights to a "tender and moving" book of letters between a father and son, highlighting mental health issues among young people, by writer Iain Maitland. Dear Michael, Love Dad was bought from Clare Hulton within four hours of the manuscript's submission. Hulton called it "the quickest sale I have ever made”.
John Murray Learning has bought world rights an entrepreneur's self-published bestseller, Life Leverage, direct from author Rob Moore. Boasting over 500 five-star reviews on Amazon, the author promises the exact philosophy, strategies and tactics needed to live a "time-rich, wealthy and meaningful life” - and the key to making more money in less time - by living a "mobile lifestyle”.
The Bodley Head has done a pre-LBF deal securing world English rights in Against Elections from Marijke Nagtegaal. The title is a short "timely” book from intellectual David Van Reybrouck, who argues elections are destroying democracy, while proposing an "ingenious and heretical" alternative. Acquiring editor Will Hammond, editorial director, said: "On the evidence of this short book alone David Van Reybrouck is one of the most visionary and galvanising writers of our time.”
Meanwhile, Sphere non-fiction editorial director Hannah Boursnell was “over the moon” to acquire world rights to a new health and fitness book by Instagram sensation Faya Nilsson, a personal trainer and winner of Cosmopolitan’s Lifestyle Blogger of the Year. Boursnell bought Fit in 3 at auction from Danielle Zigner at LBA Books in partnership with Nicholas Douglas at PRJCT Management. The Swede, advocating a mix of fresh air, fresh ingredients, regular exercise - and delicious cakes - for a healthy life, has over 90,000 followers on her Instagram account while her blog receives more than 100,000 unique hits every month.
In the US, world rights to Marcia Butler’s memoir The Skin Above My Knee were sold to Vanessa Mobley at Little Brown U.S., by Susan Feldstein of the Feldstein Agency, for publication in spring 2017. The title is described as a “daringly honest and original memoir”, which gives a “surprising glimpse into what life is like on a daily basis for a professional classical musician working at the highest level”. Tracy Williams of Little Brown U.S. will be selling international rights at the London Book Fair.
Yesterday (6th April) The Bookseller reported that Pan Macmillan secured a two-book deal with a research associate at University of East Anglia (UEA) from underbidders William Collins and Penguin Press.
Georgina Morley, editorial director for non-fiction at Pan Macmillan, did the deal with Georgina Capel for UK & Commonwealth rights in two books by historian Sophie Ambler.