Kazuo Ishiguro’s literary agency has revealed the “calls have been coming in thick and fast” following the author's Nobel Prize win, with more than 20 renewal deals flooding in and new deals in countries where the author has never previously been published.
The British writer, published by Faber in the UK, won the £832,000 prize for an outstanding contribution in literature on Thursday (5th October) which led to “mass euphoria” in the Rogers, Coleridge and White office in London.
Ishiguro's agent and RCW m.d. Peter Straus said there had been multiple renewal deals (following the lapse of the original contracts) and deals in new territories including Armenia and what is believed to be the first deal administered by the agency has ever administered for Mongolian rights. Straus told The Bookseller: “He was very well published everywhere already [in more than 50 countries] before the Nobel but of course there is a lot of great activity surrounding this announcement.”
Tristan Kendrick, the agency's foreign rights agent, said: “Since the win, we’ve had renewal offers in more than 20 territories from all over the world. We expect them all to be concluded by the end of Frankfurt, we are trying to move as quickly as we can. Some deals may have closed by the end of this phone call.” He revealed that “calls are coming thick and fast” for the author with some territories publishing his whole backlist. “I’d say the majority of the ongoing renewal deals are for whatever backlist is still available. As much of Ish’s backlist is still in print in many territories it is maybe a case of filling gaps,” he said.
According to Kendrick, the most popular titles are The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go because the film adaptations “mean they have the commercial edge”.
Following the news of Ishiguro’s win, a "great cheer" went up in RCW’s offices according to Straus. Kendrick said: "There were 30 minutes of pure joy and then the stress. I have never seen the office light up in this way. It was mass euphoria.” He added: "I think this has been the first Nobel Prize-winner on our books.”
Straus described the excitement following the announcement from readers and publishers globally as “wonderful to see”. He said: “I hope it adds to confidence of British fiction around the world. I would love it to have it to have an impact on the appreciation for British writing and give more confidence to publishers of great writing around the world. It is greatly encouraging.”
Ishiguro was originally represented by the late RCW agent, Deborah Rogers, who died in 2014.
The Nobel Prize also led to a spike in sales for the author. Never Let Me Go sold the most at 1,319 copies last week, up 335% on the week before and almost twice as much as the second most popular title. The Remains of the Day shifted 765, a rise of 548%, while The Buried Giant sold 661 copies jumping 529%, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Ishiguro described his win last week as "amazing" and "totally unexpected” while permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius praised Ishiguro as a “wonderful and truly exquisite” writer.