Human rights lawyer's Parting Words sweeps through Europe

Human rights lawyer's Parting Words sweeps through Europe

Sphere has inked a string of "major" international rights deals for a memoir by human rights lawer Benjamin Ferencz, Parting Words, including a pre-empt in Germany. The author turns 100 today (11th March).

The book is described by Sphere as a "motivational memoir", offering "nine lessons for a remarkable life" from the last surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.

Ferencz, born in 1920, was awarded Harvard Law School's medal of freedom in 2014 and was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials in 1947, resulting in the prosecution of 22 "leading Nazis".

Less than a week after the book's announcement, world rights having been acquired by Little, Brown senior commissioning editor Emily Barrett, it has gone on to sell in three deals across Europe: in Germany (to Heyne, Random House), Portugal (to Lua de Papel) and France (to Dunod). There is said to be "serious interest" in several more territories.

Parting Words follows the story of Ferencz's life, from growing up as a poor immigrant "making mischief" in 1920s New York to becoming a Harvard graduate, Second World War soldier, concentration camp liberator and human rights lawyer. Each chapter meanwhile includes his learnings "on how we can all make the most of our lives", spanning subjects such as ambition, determination, happiness and love.

Sophie Boysen of Random House Germany said: "We are proud to add this compelling personal account and unique take on life by a much admired personality of history to the Heyne list. We all can learn a lot from Benjamin Ferencz."

Little, Brown Book Group is running "a virtual LBF" in lieu of the real thing this week and Parting Words is currently its "Book of the Day". More information can be found following the Twitter handle @LBBGRights.