LBF: The Ones to Watch: Part One

LBF: The Ones to Watch: Part One

Janklow & Nesbit is offering The Game of Life by Alex Bellos, the follow-up to Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, set to explore humanity’s relationship with numbers. The book is with Bloomsbury in the UK and S&S in the US. More popular science comes in narrative study The Water Book by Guardian science correspondent Alok Jha. Headline has signed UK rights. In history, The Trigger: The Journey that Led the World to War in 1914 by Tim Butcher is the tale of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the birth of the modern world. In fiction, Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways—an “epic novel of almost Victorian confidence and expansiveness”—has sold to Picador in the UK. Brian Kimberling’s Snapper, about an affable bird researcher, is with Tinder Press (UK) and Pantheon (US).

Capel & Land has Andrew Robert’s Napoleon, a “definitive” volume biography of the titanic world figure. In fiction, C&L is offering Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Moscow-set novel Love in an Age of Ice, with Century in the UK. It also has the second book in John Steele’s Angelus trilogy, Angel City, described as “a fantasy noir thriller like no other”, and Sedition by Katharine Grant, a début adult novel following five girls coming of age in London in 1974.

Blake Friedmann is bringing a fiction roster to the fair, including Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Summer Queen, with Little, Brown in the UK. More historical fiction comes from Cormac James, whose The Surfacing follows a ship in the 1850s searching for Franklin’s lost expedition. Already bringing in foreign offers is Stalkers by Paul Finch, a “gritty” thriller set in Manchester and London. Macmillan has already snapped up The Lying Game by Tess Stimson in the UK; the novel asks what you would do if the child you raised wasn’t your own. Emer O’Toole’s non-fiction Girls Will be Girls, about gender and confidence, has been signed in the UK by Orion.

The Wylie Agency has US journalist John Jeremiah Sullivan’s The Prime Minister of Paradise which tells of Christian Priber, a little-known figure from early US history and his attempts to build a better world. Jonathan Cape has UK rights, with Suhrkamp publishing in Germany. Wylie will also be offering The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti, a New York Times reporter’s look at the changing world of warfare. Fellow NYT reporter Michael Moss’ book, Salt Sugar Fat, an investigation into the world of processed food, is also available for international publishers. Women in Clothes, compiled by Leanne Shapton, Sheila Heti and Heidi Julavits has already gone to Particular Books in the UK, and analyses women’s relationship with fashion in words and pictures. Alongside that, Wylie is offering Colum McCann’s latest novel, Transatlantic, described as “his most ambitious and beautiful novel yet” and sold to Bloomsbury in the UK.

David Godwin Associates has Alison MacLeod’s novel Unexploded, with Hamish Hamilton in the UK, which revolves around upheaval in Brighton against the backdrop of the Second World War. With Atlantic in the UK is début author Meena Kandasamy’s The Gypsy Goddess. DGA is also offering the first adult novel from YA author Marcus Sedgwick, A Love Like Blood. Meanwhile in non-fiction, Jonny Steinberg’s Farhadi will follow the story of Asad, journeying between Somalia and South Africa. Jonathan Cape has UK rights.

Diane Banks is selling foreign rights for Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw’s The Mini Quantum Universe, with Penguin Press in the UK. More foreign rights are available for Jenny Smith’s as-yet-untitled memoir of the Europe’s first women’s safe house and her campaign to increase awareness of domestic violence. Simon & Schuster have it in the UK. All rights are up for grabs on Luke Heaton’s history of mathematics, Simplicity & Truth. In fiction, all rights are also available on Sasha Wagstaff’s foray into issues-led women’s fiction, Pieces of You.

Madeleine Milburn has “terrifying” psychological suspense novel Watching Over You by Mel Sherratt. Rupert Wallis’ début YA novel Don’t be Scared (working title) will be among the agency’s hot books, with UK and Commonwealth rights in the “gripping fable about an unlikely friendship” sold to S&S. Also on offer is Kathryn Croft’s Behind Closed Doors, a psychological thriller, and Janet MacLeod Trotter’s historical saga The Tea Planter’s Daughter, an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing bestseller in 2012, for which French, Italian and Norwegian rights are already sold.

United Agents & A P Watt will be selling translation rights across the newly-united agencies’ lists. Among its hot titles will be The 20th Century: An Alternative History by John Higgs, acquired by W&N in the UK, and sold to Suhrkamp/Insel in Germany, with offers from Spanish and Dutch publishers too. Also on offer is Sarah Moss’ Bodies of Light, set in the 19th century (Granta in the UK, 2014); and international rights to Sebastian Barry’s 2014 novel The Temporary Gentleman, with Faber in the UK. A novel of love and loss from Helen Dunmore, The Lie (Hutchinson), will be on offer internationally. Non-fiction title The Freedom Formula: A Revolutionary Way to Stop Smoking by Robert West and Chris Smyth, sold to Orion in the UK, and with Dutch, German and Russian rights all sold, will be on offer; as well as Alain de Botton’s The News: An Instruction Manual, sold to Hamish Hamilton in the UK. Columnist Tim Dowling’s How to be a Husband, examining what it means to be a husband in the 21st century, will be on offer internationally (Fourth Estate, UK). Other titles include Lion Heart by Justin Cartwright, with Bloomsbury in the UK; and Coco’s Secret by Niamh Greene (Penguin).

Peters, Fraser & Dunlop has The Un-American by Vanessa Manko, agented by Caroline Michel, described as an "exciting literary debut from a promising American writer". Also represented by Michel will be The Last Empress by Daisy Goodwin, a new historical novel by the author of The Last Duchess, based on the real-life 19th century love triangle among Empress Elisabeth "Sisi" of Austria, unsuitable horseman Bay Middleton, and a bluestocking heiress. Also on offer, from Annabel Merullo, will be Under the Wire: Marie Colvin's Final Assignment by Paul Conroy, already sold to Quercus in the UK, Weinstein Books in the US and Newton Compton in Italy. It is pitched as "the epic untold account of war reporter Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy's tragic last assignment together". Also in non-fiction will be Philip Norman's Paul McCartney: An Authorised Biography, "the definitive biography of the legendary Paul McCartney" by the author of biographies of Mick Jagger and John Lennon, sold to Orion in the UK, and foreign rights sold in Brazil, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden. The agent is Michael Sissons. Ruby Wax's Sane New World: How to Tame the Mind, to be published by Hodder in the UK, will be on offer, agented by Robert Caskie, as actress and author Wax uses her personal battles with depression and her Masters in Cognitive Therapy to write a manual for saner living. Also among the agency's hot books, agented by Michael Sissions, will be Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 by Max Hastings. It will be published by HarperCollins in the UK, and Knopf in the US, with Brazilian rights sold to Intrinseca; Danish to Herrevaeelset; Dutch to De Bezige Bik; Greek to Psichogios; Hebrew to Modan; Norwegian to Font, Russian to Alpina and with Critica taking Spanish rights.   

Aitken Alexander has the third Bridget Jones novel from Helen Fielding, out from Jonathan Cape in the UK this autumn, as well as Jo Baker’s Longbourn, now sold in 13 international territories as well as to Transworld in the UK, and with film rights pre-empted by Focus Features. Also on offer will be YA title Thirteen by Tom Burden, a fast-paced thriller about a boy targeted by a murderous cult. In non-fiction, Mike Rutherford’s The Living Years is the story of a father and son whose lives are said to reflect the shifts of the 20th century. Philip Ball’s Serving the Reich explores the lives of three prominent scientists in Nazi Germany. In Priscilla, Nicholas Shakespeare traces the truth about his aunt through one of the most dreadful periods of 20th-century history (Harvill Secker in the UK).

Greene & Heaton has concluded an auction for a début high-concept thriller series by
M J Arlidge, with the first novel titled Eeny Meeny. Michael Joseph secured world rights and major deals have been done at auction in Germany (Rowohlt), and via pre-empts in Italy (Corbaccio) and France (Editions First). YA author Lucy Christopher has a new psychological thriller, The Killing Woods, about dangerous games played by teenagers. Kerry Wilkinson has signed for three more with Pan Macmillan in his DI Jessica Daniel series. Hugh Aldersey-Williams has agreed two new deals: The Adventures of Sir Browne in the 21st Century, an exploration of Browne, science, culture and belief which will be published by Granta (Norton in the US); while Where the Land meets the Sea: The Science and the Lore of the Tide will be published by Viking in the UK (again Norton in the US).