by Rachel Daehl)
Amulet Gets Cooking with Colossal
Eric Colossal sold world rights to his fantasy graphic novel series, Rutabaga the Adventure Chef, to Carol Burrell at Amulet Books. The series follows an “adventure chef” named Rutabaga, who travels to a “fantasy land” to find bizarre ingredients to cook in his enchanted cauldron. The first book in the series, due out in March 2015, will include pages straight out of Rutabaga’s cookbooks, with recipes that readers can make at home, such as “Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots” and “Perfect Pep Potion.” Charlie Olsen of InkWell Management brokered the two-book deal.
Filmmaker Haifaa al Mansour is adapting Wadjda, her feature film debut, and the first ever feature from a Saudi Arabian woman, into a middle-grade novel of the same name for Penguin Young Readers Group. Wadjda tells the story of an 11-year-old girl growing up in the suburbs of Riyadh, who dreams of owning a green bicycle. The deal for North American rights was brokered by Amy Berkower of Writers House and Lauri Hornik, president and publisher of Dial Books for Young Readers, with Dial editorial director Namrata Tripathi editing. “This story will give readers a glimpse into a world they don’t often get to encounter,” said Tripathi. “I know they will fall in love with the character of Wadjda, who is fiercely determined and universally appealing. This is one of those stories that opens eyes and touches hearts.” The book is scheduled for publication in fall 2015.
Preller Re-ups at Macmillan
Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends signed a North American rights deal to two novels by Bystander author James Preller. The first of the two is a middle-grade novel titled The Fall, slated for fall 2015; it follows a boy who writes in his journal as he tries to come to terms with his role in the life and death of a classmate, after her tragic suicide, which was prompted in part by cyberbullying. Rosemary Stimola, of Stimola Literary Studio, handled the two-book, six figure deal. Bystander was released by Feiwel and Friends in 2009.
Reiss Gendell Sells Two Memoirs
Foundry’s Yfat Reiss Gendell brokered deals for two new memoirs. Atria’s Greer Hendricks preempted North American rights to Laurie Hess’s book, in which the exotic-animal veterinarian documents her “struggles to balance her personal life as an overworked, underslept wife and mother” with her time running a unique animal hospital in a “quirky” upstate New York town. She finds herself in a “race against time” to uncover why sugar gliders—small nocturnal possums that have become popular as exotic pets—are mysteriously dying across the country.
Then there’s Christian Hageseth’s “fish-out-of-water” story, about his five-year journey from “marijuana novice to winner of top honors at the Cannabis Cup,” which is, per the agent, the “Oscars for pot.” Emily Carleton at Palgrave Macmillan bought North American rights in a “lively” auction.
Abbeville Lands Lyons
Bob Abrams of Abbeville Press bought world rights to What a Time It Was!, by veteran film critic Jeffrey Lyons. To be released in spring 2016, the book reveals “exclusive anecdotes” about actors, filmmakers, diplomats, gangsters, athletes, and larger-than-life characters of New York’s golden age, including Edward Albee, Jerry Lewis, Spencer Tracy, Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Parker, Woody Allen, and Joan Rivers. Lyons is the author of seven books and cohosts the New York City film series Talking Movies. Karen Gantz, who has an eponymous shingle, brokered the deal.
Graywolf Picks Up ‘Empty Chairs’
Peter Bernstein at Bernstein Literary closed a deal with Jeff Shotts at Graywolf Press for world rights (excluding China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) to Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, by Liu Xia. The collection presents the haunting poetry of the artist and activist, who is still under strict house arrest since her husband, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned. The book, to be published in fall 2015, will include approximately 60 poems spanning Liu’s career, in the original Chinese alongside English translations, with several of her original black-and-white photographs. Also included will be an introduction by formerly imprisoned Chinese author Liao Yiwu, and an afterword by translators Ming Di and Jennifer Stern.
Iowa Grad Heads to SMP
Michael Homler at St. Martin’s Press took world English (excluding Canada) rights to Julia Whicker’s debut novel, Wonderblood. Told through the perspectives of three narrators, the novel is set 500 years in the future, in what was once the U.S. Whicker received her M.F.A. at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2006, where she won both the Capote Fellowship and the Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Peter Steinberg, who has his own agency, handled the deal.