Deals revealed during the last two days of London Book Fair 2015, which concluded yesterday (16th), include an "intense auction" for a thriller by Melanie Raabe, which went to Mantle, a "stunning psychological suspense novel" by Margaret McQuaile which went to Quercus, and a debut by Goodreads strategist Jade Chang, snapped up by Fig Tree.
Meanwhile in non-fiction, Headline will publish the first book by YouTuber Marcus Butler, who has more than 3.5 million subscribers, Octopus will release a title by US comedian Reginald D Hunter which will take “a wry look at what the British have taught him about etiquette, food, sex, relationships, politics and various other aspects of life in general”, while Profile snapped up rights to For F**K's Sake by Dr Emma Byrne - a defence of swearing, using science to prove its necessity in our language and our lives. See the full round up of fiction and non-fiction deals below:
Penguin p-p-picks up . . . a penguin
Penguin Random House imprint Michael Joseph has acquired a “remarkable” story of penguins. Tom Michell’s The Penguin Lessons tells the story of how the author rescued a penguin from an oil slick in Uruguay. Michell smuggled the creature into the boarding school where he lived and taught in Argentina. Michael Joseph editorial director Jessica Leeke acquired world rights from Laura Warner at Blink Films.
Raine gain for Accent
Accent Press has acquired four books by Alice Raine. The Revealed series, about a secret relationship that develops between an actor and a teacher, will be published by Accent’s erotic romance list Cariad, which launched last year with another fiction series by Raine, Untwisted. The publisher said that the Untwisted titles had combined to sell more than 130,000 copies to date.
Mantle traps Melanie
Mantle has bought UK and Commonwealth rights to The Trap by Melanie Raabe after an “intense auction”. The novel follows a reclusive novelist who sees the man she believes killed her sister on television—and tries to entrap him using herself as bait. Sam Humphreys bought the book from Sarah Lutyens at Lutyens & Rubinstein, on behalf of Text Publishing in Australia. Mantle will publish in spring 2016.
Ravi on the run
Picador associate publisher Ravi Mirchandani has acquired world rights in all languages to Infinite by Julian Gough, in which protagonist Colt leaks the work of his mother—a university researcher—to a stem cell research conference, where her paper is rapturously received . . . until the conference is closed down and the pair have to go on the run. Mirchandani struck the deal with Charlie Campbell of Kingsford Campbell.
Seedy sunset for Faber
Faber editorial director Angus Cargill has bought UK and Commonwealth rights to University of Mississippi professor Melissa Ginsburg’s Sunset City, and a second title by the author, in a pre-empt from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein. Sunset City is described as a crime noir which “descends into Houston’s seedy underbelly”.
At home at Quercus
Quercus has acquired a “stunning psychological suspense novel set partly in London, partly in Ireland”. Publishing director Stef Bierwerth bought UK and Commonwealth rights to You Can’t Go Home Again and a second novel by Margaret McQuaile, a graduate of Faber’s novel-writing course, through Nicola Barr at Greene & Heaton. Quercus will publish the title in summer 2016.
Van Gogh to Virago
Virago has bought a novel by Susan Fletcher, told from the point of view of the wife of the warden at the Provence asylum where Vincent van Gogh was cared for in the final year of his life. Lennie Goodings bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Let Me Tell You About a Man I Knew, and one other book, from Vivienne Schuster at Curtis Brown. Goodings called the novel “haunting and compelling”;
Virago will publish in autumn 2016.
Fig Tree picks up début
Penguin imprint Fig Tree has signed Goodreads strategist Jade Chang’s début novel, The Wangs v The World, at auction for an undisclosed sum. Juliet Annan completed the deal with Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group, on behalf of Marc Gerald of The Agency Group NY. The title tells the story of the Wang family, Chinese immigrants who return to their homeland in 2008 after the collapse of patriarch Charles’ cosmetics empire.
Picador signs Everyone
Picador publisher Paul Baggaley has bought world English-language rights to Everyone is Watching, by UEA creative writing graduate Megan Bradbury, from Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh. To be published in summer 2016, the novel reimagines New York through the eyes of Walt Whitman, Robert Moses, Robert Mapplethorpe and Edmund White.
HC bags crime series
HarperCollins has signed two crime novels by former Territorial Army troop commander Kate Medina. Crime and thriller publisher Julia Wisdom signed UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit. The first title is due in spring 2016. Medina published her first book, White Crocodile, with Faber as K T Medina.
Granta settles down with Bojanowski
Bella Lacey at Granta has signed a second novel by Mark Bojanowski, titled Journeymen. The book follows a carpenter who learns the pleasures of settling down after years on the road.Lacey signed UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Sarah Levitt at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. Journeymen is set for publication in spring 2016.
A Book Full of Sugar
Sir Alan Sugar is to use his four million Twitter followers to crowdsource material for a new book for Pan Macmillan, about his 10 years in TV. Editorial director Ingrid Connell acquired world rights directly from Sugar. The book will explain what he thought of some of the tasks and candidates on “The Apprentice”; how he brought Nick Hewer, Margaret Mountford and Karren Brady on board; what became of the show’s winners; and how working on “The Apprentice” inspired him and others. It will be his third book for Pan Mac.
Kite to keep it real
Yellow Kite has acquired the first book by healthy living expert Calgary Avansino. Publisher Liz Gough bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Keep It Real: Eat well, feel well, live well – a step by step guide to a healthy life for the whole family from Elizabeth Sheinkman at WME. Avansino’s book will offer inspiration and tips on making healthy food swaps, being organised in the kitchen, recipes and other ways to help find balance. Gough said: “I am so happy to bring Calgary to the Yellow Kite list. She is at the cutting edge of health, wellbeing and lifestyle trends, and is also a working mum-of-three, so she knows how important it is for busy parents to look after and nourish themselves, so that they in turn can take care of the rest of the family’s needs. In her book Calgary will inspire us all to look at our lives and make positive changes – it’s going to be fabulous.” Keep It Real will be published in hardback in spring 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton imprint Yellow Kite.
Northern lights illuminated by Windridge
William Collins has acquired a book on the northern lights by plasma physicist Melanie Windridge. Seeing the Light is a narrative non-fiction account of the science, folklore and visual beauty of the aurora borealis. Publishing director Myles Archibald signed UK and Commonwealth rights from Robyn Drury at Diane Banks Associates. Archibald said: ”Seeing the Light is a great insight to the spectacular phenomena that has 63,000 followers on Twitter.” The book will be published in early 2016.
Profile swears by Byrne
Profile has signed a defence of swearing, using science to prove its necessity in our language and our lives. For F**K's Sake by Dr Emma Byrne was signed in a deal for world rights with Carrie Plitt at Conville & Walsh. It will be published in 2017. Commissioning editor Rebecca Gray said: "I am so fucking glad to have Emma Byrne as a Profile author and so are my foul-mouthed colleagues. Her book is a revelation – we often hear about swearing in a linguistic context but the science of swearing is far less explored. Emma’s writing is lively, informative and impeccably well-researched, and the book makes you feel less bad about swearing in front of children too. Emma is a serious scientist who has a brilliant sense of humour and a terrific way with an expletive. We’re going to have a lot of fun."
Vlogger Butler hits the headlines
Headline will publish the first book by YouTuber Marcus Butler, who has more than 3.5 million subscribers to his channel on the video-sharing website. In Hello Life!, which is part memoir and part self-help guide, Butler “shares his trademark big-brotherly advice and unveils his roadmap to success for anyone navigating the trickier aspects of modern life”. Each chapter will include pictures and the book will also include “lots of cheeky pull-out sections”. Butler will work on the book in collaboration with journalist and writer Matt Allen. Headline deputy publishing director Sarah Emsley acquired world rights from Lucy Lender at Gleam Futures. The title will be published as a £14.99 hardback on 30th July 2015. A number of publishers have signed up books by popular vloggers in recent months, following the chart-topping success of titles by YouTubers such as Zoe Sugg (Girl Online, Penguin) and Alfie Deyes (The Pointless Book, Blink Publishing).
Motown tome to T&H
Thames & Hudson has announced its lead music title for spring 2016, Motown: The Sound of Young America, by former Billboard editor Adam White and ex-Motown Records president Barney Ales. The book uses archive material, as well as that of personal collectors, to build a visual narrative of the influential record label, and features large amounts of previously unseen material. Rights in the book were signed from Adam Gauntlett at PFD.
Dying to be published by Canongate
Canongate has pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights in Erica Jong’s latest book, Fear of Dying, a study of what it means to be female in the 21st century. Publisher Jenny Todd signed the book, planned for publication this autumn, in a deal with Elizabeth Sheinkman at WME. Jong’s 1973 novel Fear of Flying (Vintage) has sold more than 27 million copies globally, Canongate claimed.
MB’s home sweet Rome
Octopus imprint Mitchell Beazley has acquired a cookbook on the culinary delights of Rome by food blogger Eleonora Galasso. Octopus senior commissioning editor Eleanor Maxfield pre-empted world rights from Federica Leonardis at Rogers, Coleridge & White. The title, “an off-the-beaten-track gastronomic itinerary of Rome”, will be published in hardback in spring 2016.
Maybe Esther to Fourth Estate
Fourth Estate editor Anna Kelly has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Maybe Esther by German author Katja Petrowskaja, from HarperCollins US. Originally published in German by Suhrkamp in 2013, the title won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, a venerable award for books written in the German language. Rights have been sold in more than 20 languages. Maybe Esther tells the story of the author’s search for the colourful and traumatic history of her Jewish ancestors. Publication is slated for May 2016.
A book by US comedian Reginald D Hunter will take “a wry look at what the British have taught him about etiquette, food, sex, relationships, politics and various other aspects of life in general”, said Hannah Knowles, commissioning editor at Octopus Publishing Group, who acquired world rights to the book from Mandy Ward at Mandy Ward Artist Management. The book will be published in hardback in autumn 2015.
Murray’s best year yet
John Murray has acquired a book by Sophie Howarth, who co-founded The School of Life with Alain de Botton—and is looking to “reinvent the diary”. Publisher Georgina Laycock bought world rights in The Best Year Yet, which dedicates one page to one day, each containing an inspiration, game or exercise. John Murray will publish in November 2015.
Six women, two roads
John Murray imprint Two Roads has acquired Siân Evans’ Great Hostesses, which explores the lives of “six extraordinary women who helped shape the arts, politics and society during the interwar years”: Lady Londonderry, Lady Nancy Astor, Lady Emerald Cunard, Lady Sibyl Colefax, Dame Margaret Greville and Mrs Laura Corrigan. Lisa Highton acquired UK rights from Diane Banks at Diane Banks Associates; Two Roads will publish the title in 2016.