Rights Update: Viet Thanh Nguyen’s ‘The Sympathizer’ Sells to 24 Territories

In News by Porter Anderson

With a handsome list of awards, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s ‘The Sympathizer’ is an international success, with rights sold around the world. And a sequel is coming soon.

Five ‘faces’ of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s ‘The Sympathizer’: cover art, from left, USA (Grove Atlantic), the Netherlands (Uitgeverij Marmer), UK (Corsair); France (Belfond); and Spain (Planeta/Seix Barral)

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

German Edition: August 14
Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (Grove Atlantic, 2015) has become something of an international rights juggernaut.

With its German edition to be released by Blessing Verlag on August 14, it’s a good moment to look at how the novel is doing on the world stage.

The book about a “man with two souls” is a literary political thriller set against the Vietnam War and praised for its “intelligent rage” as it parses the fierce dilemmas of idealism and what one critic has termed “extreme politics.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen

“I see this novel,” Nguyen has written, “not as a Vietnamese or Vietnamese American story, or even a Vietnam War novel. It is a post-Vietnam War novel. Set in the years after the war, it’s my fictional response to, and revenge on, all those movies and books that did such a fine job with the American point of view and a rather miserable one with the Vietnamese.”

It would appear that readers in many parts of the world today can sympathize with that motivation for writing The Sympathizer.

“Italian sales,” Nguyen tells Publishing Perspectives in a note, are at 40,000, “and English language sales outside the USA are about 110,000, with the top countries being the UK, Australia, Singapore, and Ireland.”

North American sales to date, he says, have passed 450,000.

The German cover art for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel, releasing August 14 from Karl Blessing Verlag

In working with Kristen Pini at New York’s Sobel Weber Associates and with publicist Dorle Kopetzky of Pfaffenhofen’s Weissundblau Agency, we’re able to create this update on the languages and territories into which The Sympathizer has sold, in the run-up to the German release.

  • Arabic, Arab Scientific Publishing
  • Brazil, Alfaguara
  • Catalan, Empuries
  • China, Shanhai Translation Pub
  • Czech Republic, Jota
  • Germany, Karl Blessing Verlag
  • Greece, Utopia
  • The Netherlands, Uitgeverij Marmer
  • Israel, Babel
  • Italy, Neri Pozza
  • Japan, Hayakawa
  • Korea, Minumsa
  • Poland, Muza
  • Portugal, Elsinore 20/20
  • Romania, Editura Art
  • Russia, Corpus
  • Serbia, Laguna
  • Slovakia, Absynt
  • Spain, Planeta/Seix Barral
  • Taiwan, Marco Polo Press
  • Turkey, Epsilon Yayinlari
  • UK, Corsair
  • Ukraine, Hemiro Ltd.
  • Vietnam, Nha Nam
The Upcoming Sequel: Seven Territories

This summer, Nguyen is in Paris, working on a sequel to The Sympathizer for Grove Atlantic. Kopetsky tells Publishing Perspectives that the new work already has sold into seven territories, including Germany (Karl Blessing Verlag again), France, Italy, the UK, and Japan.

Among the awards the book has captured to date:

  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2016
  • Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel
  • The Center for Fiction 2015 First Novel Prize
  • American Library Association’s 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
  • Dayton Literary Peace Prize 2016
  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist (Best Mystery/Thriller)
  • 2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Finalist
  • 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist
About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.