Pre-Frankfurt deals for Romero, Goldsworthy and Bret Easton Ellis

<p>A first venture into fiction for acclaimed historian Adrian Goldsworthy, a debut novel from cult zombie film director George A Romero and new titles from some of the world&rsquo;s most celebrated novelists &ndash; including Bret Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami &ndash; are heating up the pre-Frankfurt Book Fair rights scene.</p><p>With the fair due to kick off on 14th October, Orion&#39;s deputy publishing director for fiction Bill Massey has acquired world rights in a new fiction series by Goldsworthy, set during the Peninsular war in Spain in the early 19th century, from agent Georgina Capel at Capel &amp; Land. <br />Orion imprint Gollancz has also splashed out a six-figure sum on three-book fantasy series by debut novelist Elspeth Cooper, which associate publisher Jo Fletcher pre-empted from Ian Drury at Sheil Land. </p><p>At Headline, associate publisher Vicki Mellor has paid a rumoured $300,000 for UK, Commonwealth and EU rights in two novels by Romero &ndash; the director behind the film &quot;Night of the Living Dead&quot;. The first novel,<em> The Living Dead</em>, will be published next July in hardback. &quot;We are very aware that there is going to be an explosion of zombie novels being published over the next year, but we absolutely believe that we have the definitive novel from the one author that every fan of the genre will want to read,&quot; said Mellor. US publisher Grand Central is taking the book to Frankfurt.</p><p>Harvill Secker, meanwhile, has acquired what is expected to be one of the big Frankfurt books, Haruki Murakami&rsquo;s new novel <em>1Q84</em>, for UK publication. Harvill publishing director Liz Foley bought UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada for Harvill &ndash; Murakami&rsquo;s longterm publisher &ndash; with Rachel Cugnoni to publish the paperback at Vintage. The agent was Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown for Amanda Urban at ICM. </p><p>ICM is also selling foreign rights in Bret Easton Ellis&rsquo;s new novel <em>Imperial Bedrooms</em>, a sequel to his debut <em>Less than Zero</em> set 25 years later. Knopf is publishing in the US, and Picador has UK and Commonwealth rights in the novel. </p><p>Among independent publisher, debuts are also expected to make a splash at the Fair. Atlantic publisher and chairman Toby Mundy highlighted <em>Snowdrops</em>, which the publisher acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in recently. Atlantic bought the book, a debut by A D Miller, from Zoe Waldie at Rogers, Coleridge and White for a rumoured &pound;65,000.</p><p>Mundy said: &quot;It looks hot as hell. We would love to have [all] the rights because it looks like it will sell well - but the agency has them.&quot;</p><p>Waldie said she had received &quot;offers all over the place&quot;, adding it was &quot;almost our most significant title&quot;, having already sold into America, Canada and Brazil, with offers on the table from publishers in France, Germany Italy and Norway.</p><p>Canongate is aiming high with its recent Philip Pullman acquisition, an addition to the publisher&#39;s Myths series entitled <em>The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ</em>. Andrea Joyce, associate rights director, said she hoped to sell to at least 30 territories, having already sold to Australia, Brazil, Canada and the US. The company also has high expectations for the forthcoming Dan Rhodes novel <em>Little Hands Clapping.</em> </p><p>Meanwhile Quercus is planning for its biggest rights-selling fair in some years, with three major titles being touted, for which the publisher owns all rights including film. All three of the titles are debuts - a horror novel, entitled <em>The Leaping</em>, a fantasy series called <em>The Demi-Monde</em>, and a novel &quot;very much in the territory of Ian McEwan&quot;, entitled <em>The Upright Piano Player</em>. </p><p>Daniel Bouquet, head of rights, said: &quot;It&#39;s been a while since Quercus has had anything this exciting &ndash; we didn&rsquo;t have these big international projects with all the rights at London, so it&rsquo;s an exciting time.&quot; </p>