Frankfurt Book Fair: rights previews

Frankfurt Book Fair: rights previews

Janklow & Nesbit is bringing a thriller, Early Riser, which marks a new direction for writer Jasper Fforde. Carolyn Mays at Hodder has bought the book and two sequels on proposal, with the first novel set in a world where human beings have begun to hibernate. Viking is the US publisher. Also from Janklow & Nesbit comes journalist Alex Ash’s Youth Tribe, sold at auction to Kate Harvey at Picador by Rebecca Carter. The book presents a panorama of young Chinese society through the stories of 12 individuals. Matt Parker’s book on maths, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, sold by Will Francis to Penguin Press after a nine-publisher auction, has just had US rights pre-empted by FSG, with Doubleday Canada acquiring the book in Canada. Also from Janklow & Nesbit comes a book from Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, Play it Again, about learning to play a tricky Chopin piece in the year his newspaper broke the WikiLeaks story. The title will be published by Jonathan Cape in the UK in early 2013.

Andrew Wylie is bringing a new novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah, already snapped up by Fourth Estate in the UK, Knopf in the US, Fischer in Germany, Einaudi in Italy, De Bezige Bij in the Netherlands, Zysk in Poland, Dom Quixote in Portugal and Random House Mondadori in Spain. The author’s first novel in seven years spans three continents in its recounting of the tale of Ifemelu and Obinze, who fall in love as teenagers in a Lagos secondary school before their lives take different directions. Also under the Wylie wing is Elif Batuman’s The Two Lives, set for delivery in September 2014, which centres around a narrator who realises she is always writing two stories: one which will actually be published; and a second, more meaningful one, which remains secret. Wylie is also bringing The Signature of All Things, a new book by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Her latest is a novel about a brilliant female botanist set in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Madeleine Milburn Agency is taking three hot débuts to Frankfurt. First is a YA love story, Soulmates by Holly Bourne, for which UK and Commonwealth rights have been acquired by Rebecca Hill at Usborne. Rights have already gone in Germany (DTV), Spain (Ediciones B) and Poland (Wilga). Second is “stylish” début thriller Soho, 4am by Nuala Casey, set in the 24 hours between Britain’s successful bid to host the Olympic Games and the terrorist bombings of 7/7, for which Jo Dickinson at Quercus acquired UK and Commonwealth rights. Milburn will also be selling a dark psychological suspense tale, Don’t Stand So Close by S L Lewis, which is about a reclusive psychologist who is forced to confront trauma from her past and secrets in her marriage.  

Rogers, Coleridge & White is taking new novels from Rupert Thomson (Secrecy, set in 1690s Florence, to be published in the UK by Philip Gwyn Jones at Granta) and Julie Myerson (The Quickening, a tale of disturbing events on an Antigua honeymoon, sold by Gill Coleridge to Selina Walker at Hammer for an April publication). Also on the RCW list is a début, The Undertaking by Audrey Magee, just bought in the UK by Ravi Mirchandani at Atlantic at auction. The Undertaking is set in Germany during the First World War, with a German soldier on the Russian front and his wife climbing the social ladder in Berlin. Also on the list is The Fall by Diogo Mainardi, a Brazilian hit memoir about a father whose son has cerebral palsy.

Diane Banks Associates is bringing the first title in new fantasy series The Long War by A J Smith, to be published in the UK by Head of Zeus in summer 2013, and two thrillers set in the art world by Spencer Coleman. In non-fiction, the agency is selling foreign rights to What is Physics? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, for publication from Penguin Press in spring 2014, and is offering A Year and a Bit in Life and Physics by Jon Butterworth, head of physics and astronomy at UCL and a senior physicist at CERN. The latter title exploring why the subject has gained so much public prominence lately.

Blake Friedmann’s Isobel Dixon is taking Edward Carey’s The Iremonger Trilogy, set in Victorian London, with the first, Heap House, described as “a brilliant crossover novel for fans of Mervyn Peake”. Julian Friedmann has Muriel Macleod’s What the River Washed Away, a “searing” début about a black girl abused in early 20th-century Louisiana, for which Oneworld has world English-language rights. Carole Blake is taking Lawrence Norfolk’s John Saturnall’s Feast, Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Summer Queen and Tess Stimson’s She Takes After You.

Aitken Alexander is taking débuts The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowics, a “prodigiously inventive” novel already sold to Hutchinson in the UK; and The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth, a book about “one geek’s struggle” which has sold to Picador in the UK and Little, Brown in the US. Also heading for Frankfurt is Jung Chang’s biography Empress Dowager Cixi, Alice Peterson’s new novel By My Side (sold to Quercus in the UK), and Mad Girl’s Love Song by Andrew Wilson, billed as the first book to dig deeply into the early years of Sylvia Plath. The agency is also taking Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Room by Paul Willetts, the tale of a murky spy operation in the Second World War (a Viking buy in the UK).

Greene & Heaton is selling rights in an “audacious” début novel We Used to be Kings by Stewart Foster, which is about a young boy’s descent into madness. Jonathan Cape will publish in the UK. Also on the list is a YA début The Elites by Natasha Footman, an adventure set in a near-future world. Remaining rights will be being sold in Sabine Durrant’s psychological suspense novel Under Your Skin (with Hodder snapping it up in the UK and Piper in Germany) and Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First, about a concealed suicide (Picador in the UK, Doubleday in the US and sold in seven languages). In non-fiction, the agency will bring Ian Leslie’s Curious (sold to Quercus in the UK), which will examine curiosity as the key to success, happiness and progress.

David Higham Associates is taking Fractured Times, a new collection of essays on society and culture by Eric Hobsbawm; Linda Green’s The Mummyfesto, a novel about three women who decide mothers would make a better job of running the country than men; and Kate Worsley’s She Rises, “a breathtaking, utterly original story of love, adventure and identity” set in the port of Harwich in the 1740s. DHA is also selling translation rights to Rachel Abbott’s début psychological suspense novel Only the Innocent, which has sold over 100,000 copies in the UK in e-book form. The new Amanda Brookfield novel The Love Child is described as “a subtle and brilliant portrayal of two parents trying to help their teenage daughter when she hits terrible trouble”.