A number of deals concluded as London Book Fair came to a close on Thursday afternoon (14th March) such as a book on resilience from athlete Ross Edgeley to HarperCollins and news of a “significant” pre-empt deal for an oncology expert with Canongate.
The indie publisher recently acquired Radical Acts of Love: Conversations from the Heart of Dying by oncology nurse Janie Brown in a “significant” pre-empt. Senior commissioning editor Hannah Knowles bought world rights from Jason Bartholomew at bks Agency. Publication is scheduled for spring 2020. In Radical Acts of Love, the oncology nurse of 30 years and counsellor of cancer patients with terminal diagnoses recounts 20 conversations she has had with the dying, including with those people close to her.
Knowles said: “I was completely snared by Janie’s manuscript… [it is] quite simply one of the most profound books I have ever read. It moved all the teams here to tears.”
Another memoir went to Transworld as non-fiction continued to flourish with the acquisition of Hunting Killers by former police detective and investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas. “In this gripping and unflinching memoir, the author will reveal how he has pieced together the complex cases he has been called upon to investigate,” the synopsis reads.Editorial director Michelle Signore acquired UK and Commonwealth Rights from Furniss Lawton with publication slated for 27th June.
Lifestyle also appeared to be in demand at LBF. HarperCollins recently acquired world rights for a new book by athlete Ross Edgley. Publisher Ed Faulkner acquired the rights from the athlete directly.The book, provisionally titled The Art of Resilience, will publish in late Spring 2020. The athlete will “challenge conventional wisdom and is considered to be a scientist, sociologist and philosopher of training and nutrition”.
There were also a number of fiction deals concluding as the fair came to an end. Leah Spann, associate editor at science fiction publisher DAW, has acquired Australian author E J Beaton’s debut fantasy novel, The Councilor, and another title in a deal for World English Rights from Julie Crisp Literary Agency Ltd. "Set against a backdrop of politics, magic and with a wonderful cast of original characters in a richly- imagined world - this is an exciting new voice in fantasy for fans of Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik and Seth Dickinson," the publisher said.
Meanwhile S&S UK has agreed a two-book deal with debut novelist Caroline Scott. Scott sent the novel to the Books and the City open submission day in 2018, and the world rights deal was brokered by Teresa Chris of the Teresa Chris Literary Agency with Fiction Publishing Director Jo Dickinson. The Photographer of the Lost will be published in November 2019 with the second novel will be published in 2021. US rights have been pre-empted by Liz Stein of HarperCollins US, William Morrow imprint, who will also publish in November 2019 as a major title for the list.
The publisher also agreed a new two-book deal with the author of Painting the Sand Kim Hughes. The deal was brokered by Julian Alexander of The Soho Agency with Fiction Publishing Director Jo Dickinson. The first novel in the contract will be published early in 2020, Operation Certain Death, introducing the series lead character, bomb disposal expert Dom Riley. A second novel will be published in 2021.
Reflecting on the fair, one fiction editor told The Bookseller it had been “quiet on the literary front” with agent Emma Paterson, of Aitkens Alexander, agreeing. “ I think it feels quite mellow. Lots of deals done before the fair rather than during, and lots of building anticipations for things to come,” she said.
Meanwhile Stephen Page, c.e.o. was pleased with the activity at LBF. “We’ve had a terrifically busy and enjoyable fair,” he told The Bookseller. "The people we need to see were here, and more besides.”
Nic Bottomley, co-owner of Mr B’s Emporium and president of the Booksellers Association, echoed this. “I’ve just in sessions and meetings all day, which is a good sign,” he said. “It does feel busy and very buzzing. It also feels energised and robust in the bookselling sessions.
"People are here to learn and share and whilst there's always trepidation, particularly when you gaze towards Westminster. Those uncontrollable issues aside there is a degree of pride in the air at how well bookshops are doing and how central they are proving to their sometimes beleaguered high streets.”