Rights Roundup: Ten Titles Doing Brisk Business Early in the Year

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

From Germany, the United States, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Mexico, and France, our first rights roundup includes a graphic memoir, a novel headed for a cinema near you in February, and a work that started as a self-published title 17 years ago.

Clockwise from upper left, the authors of books in our rights roundup are: JB MacKinnon, Sofia Lundberg, Jeff VanderMeer, Elisabeth Norebäck, Andrés Barba, Anand Dílvar, Joanna Connors, Riad Sattouf, Einat Tsarfati, Elli Radinger

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

2018’s Rights Action: A Fast Start
Our first rights roundup of 2018 is evidence of a fast start to the year. This list includes titles from Germany, the United States, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Mexico, and France that are selling rights around the world. Here are works of nonfiction, adult trade and children’s fiction, including a sweeping graphic memoir, a novel headed for a cinema near you in February, and an inspirational work that started as a self-published title 17 years ago.

We’re grateful to the agents and rights directors who have provided us with their deals information for early 2018, and we’ll put together more rights roundups with more deals going forward.

If you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.


Die Weisheit der Wölfe (The Wisdom of Wolves) by Elli H. Radinger
Publisher: Random House Germany
Rights contact: Gesche Wendebourg
Reported rights sales:

  • China: Citic Press Corporation
  • Estonia: Tänapäev
  • France: Trédaniel
  • Greece: Psichogios
  • Italy: Sperling&Kupfer)
  • Japan: Tsukiji
  • The Netherlands: Bruna
  • Poland: Czarna Owca
  • Romania; Publica
  • Slovakia: Ikar
  • Spain: Urano
  • Taiwan: Business Weekly
  • UK: Penguin Random House/Michael Joseph

Elli Radinger’s book is described as one in which the wolf expert and author introduces us to the social life of wolves, by means of many, often very touching anecdotes from her years of wolf-watching in Yellowstone. “Wolves take empathetic care of their old and injured, lovingly bring up their young and are able to forget everything when playing. They think, dream, make plans, communicate intelligently with one another – and have more similarities with us humans than any other animal.”


Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher: FSG
Agent: Sally Harding at CookeMcDermid, Toronto
Translation rights: Devon Mazzone at FSG

A film adaptation of Annihilation, the first book of VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, is directed by Alex Gardner and scheduled for US and most international markets on February 23.

Reported rights sales:

  • World: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, excluding Canada: HarperCollins Canada
  • UK: Fourth Estate
  • Brazil: Editora Intrinseca
  • Bulgaria: Ex Libris
  • Complex Chinese: Global Group
  • Simplified Chinese: Beijing Huaxia Winshare Books
  • Estonia: Verrak
  • Finland: Like Publishing
  • France: Au Diable Vauvert
  • Germany: Verlag Antje Kunstmann GmbH
  • Greece: Kastaniotis Editions
  • Hungary: Agave Konyvek Kft.
  • Indonesia: PT Gramedia
  • Israel: Moby Dick
  • Italy: Giulio Einaudi Editore
  • Japan: Hayakawa Shobo
  • Korea: Minumin Publishing Co.
  • Netherlands: De Bezige Bij
  • Poland: Wydawnictwo Otwarte
  • Portugal: Saida de Emergencia
  • Romania: Editura Trei
  • Russia: Eksmo Publishers
  • Spanish: Editorial Seix Barral
  • Swedish: Fria Ligan
  • Thailand: Earnest Publishing
  • Turkey: Alfa Kitap
  • Ukraine: Krajina Mriy
  • USA and Philippines English audio: Blackstone
  • Film/TV: Rudin Productions and Paramount Pictures)

Säg att du är min (Tell Me You’re Mine) by Elisabeth Norebäck
Publisher: Solaris
Agents: Lena Stjernström and Jenni Brunn at Grand Agency, Stockholm
Reported rights sales:

  • Argentina: Planeta
  • Brazil: Verus
  • Bulgaria: ERA Publishers
  • Chile: Planeta
  • Denmark: Politiken
  • China: Beijing White Horse Time (Simplified Chinese)
  • Czech Republic: Knihy Dobrovský/Omega
  • Estonia: Pegasus
  • Finland: Like
  • France: Bragelonne
  • Germany: Heyne/Diana
  • Greece: Dioptra
  • Hungary: Animus
  • Iceland: Tindur
  • Israel: Dani books
  • Italy: Editricie Nord
  • Japan: Hayakawa
  • Korea: Golden Time
  • Latvia: Latvijas Mediji (this plus one more by Elisabeth Norebäck)
  • The Netherlands: Prometheus
  • Mexico: Planeta
  • Norway: Aschehoug
  • Poland: Zysk
  • Portugal: Porto
  • Romania: Editura Trei
  • Russia: AST
  • Serbia: Vulkan
  • Spain: Planeta
  • Sweden: Polaris
  • Taiwan: PCUSER (Cite Publishing Group)
  • Turkey: Penguen Kitap
  • USA: G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House (world English)

If your child disappeared at age 1, would you recognize her 20 years later? Elisabeth Norebäck’s debut Tell Me You’re Mine is a tale about grief and guilt, insanity and violent obsession.


The Arab of the Future (L’Arabe du futur) by Riad Sattouf
Publisher: Allary Éditions, Paris, a five-volume graphic memoir
Agent: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency, USA
Reported rights sales:

  • Brazil: Intrinseca, two-book deal, at auction
  • Catalan: Salamandra, three-book deal, at auction
  • Italy: Rizzoli-Lizard, at auction
  • Germany: Knaus/Random House, at auction for Volumes 2 and 3 as two-book deal, and a later deal for Volumes 4 and 5)
  • Korea: Humanist, at auction
  • Norway: Minuskel
  • Poland: Kultura Gniewu, at auction
  • Portugal: LeYa
  • The Netherlands: De Geus, Volume 1, at auction, Volumes 2 and 3 as two-book deal
  • Spain: Salamandra, three-book deal, at auction)
  • Denmark: Cobolt, three-book deal
  • Sweden: Cobolt, three-book deal, at auction)
  • Finland: WSOY, two-book deal, at auction
  • USA: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, in a pre-empt, a three-book deal
  • UK: Two Roads, three-book deal
  • Croatia: Fibra, three-book deal
  • Slovenia: Literatura
  • Czech Republic: Baobab Books, two-book deal, followed by a deal for Volume 3
  • Russia: Boom Kniga
  • Romania: Editura Art

With more than 1 million copies of Volumes 1, 2 and 3 reportedly sold worldwide, The Arab of the Future is a graphic memoir series telling the story of author Riad Sattouf’s childhood. The first volume (2014) covers his boyhood to the age of 6 in 1984, when he’s shuttled between Libya, Brittany, and Syria. The second volume (2015) tells the story of his first year of school in Syria (1984 and 1985). The third volume (2016) sees him between the ages of 6 and 9, when he becomes aware of the society in which he’s growing up, 1985 to 1987.

Translated into 20 languages, the books have been awarded multiple prizes, including the Grand prix RTL for graphic novels in 2014; the Fauve d’or (Best Album Prize) at the 2015 International Comics Festival in Angoulême; and The Los Angeles Times’ graphic novel prize in 2016.


I Will Find You by Joanna Connors
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Agent: Lauren E. Abramo at Dystel, Goderich and Bourret, New York City
Reported rights sales:

  • USA: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • UK: Fourth Estate
  • Slovakia: Absynt
  • Czech Republic: Albatros
  • Spain: Errata Naturae

When Joanna Connors was 30 and on assignment for the Cleveland Plain Dealer to review a play at a college theater, she was held at knifepoint and raped by a stranger who had grown up five miles away from her. Once her assailant was caught and sentenced, Joanna never spoke of the trauma again, until 21 years later when her daughter was about to go to college. She resolved then to tell her children about her own rape so that they could learn and protect themselves, and she began to realize that the man who assaulted her was one of the most formative people in her life.

Setting out to uncover the story of her attacker, Connors embarked on a journey to find out who he was, where he came from, who his friends were, and what his life was like. I Will Find You is a timely consideration of race, class, education, and the families that shape who we become, by a reporter and survivor.


República luminosa (Luminous Republic) by Andrés Barba
Publisher: Anagrama
Agent: Sandra Pareja, Casanovas and Lynch Literary Agency, Barcelona
Reported rights action:

  • Spain and Latin America: Anagrama (2017)
  • UK: Granta (option)
  • Norway: Gyldendal Norsk (pre-empt)
  • The Netherlands: De Bezije Bij (option)
  • Germany: Luchterhand (two-book deal)
  • Italy: La nave di Teseo (three-book deal)
  • Brazil: Todavia Livros
  • France: Christian Bourgois Éditeur (option)
  • Israel: Keter
  • Greece: Metaixmio (option)
  • Portugal: Elsinore (option)
  • China: Imaginist (three-book deal)
  • Czech Republic: Paseka

Thirty-two children show up one day in San Cristóbal, a small tropical city between the jungle and the river. No one knows where these children have come from nor can they understand the language they speak. They’re hungry and commit acts of violence, disturbing the city, its inhabitants and their newly found economic stability. Two adults are stabbed in a supermarket, and from then on, not one adult in San Cristóbal looks these kids in the eyes, treating them like the living dead, and haunted by the possibility that they could be their next prey.

Twenty years later, a public servant for the city involved in the case writes his testimony rich in reflection, a chronicle stating facts, proof and rumors about how the city was forced to rethink its idea of order, violence, and civiliation itself during that year-and-a-half when these kids invaded the city–a dark metaphysical fable that reads as if it could be true.


El esclavo (The Slave) by Anand Dílvar
Publisher: Self-published in 2001, then published by Camino Rojo, Mexico, 2006
Rights holder: Alexian Limited, Bath, David Alexander
Reported rights sales:

  • Australia: Shelter Harbor Press
  • Brazil: GMT Editora
  • Canada: Shelter Harbor Press
  • Czech Republic: Dokoran
  • Denmark: Borgen
  • Estonia: Koolibri
  • France: Jouvence
  • Germany: Goldmann
  • Hungary: Edesviz
  • India: Hay House
  • Italy: UNO
  • Japan: Sunmark
  • Korea: Interpark CNE Redstone
  • Latvia: Zvaigzne ABC
  • Lithuania: Alma Littera
  • The Netherlands: Juwelenschip
  • Poland: Illuminatio
  • Portugal: Nascente
  • Romania: Lifestyle
  • Russia: Sophia
  • Serbia: Ikar
  • Slovakia: Evro
  • Spain: Martinex Roca
  • Sweden: Stolpe Books
  • Turkey: A7 Kitap
  • UK: Hay House
  • USA: Shelter Harbor Press
  • Vietnam: Saigon Books Cultural

Anand Dílvar’s The Slave was written as a result of the author’s exploration of spiritual teachings. He’s the founder of Vision Quest Center in Valle Bravo, Mexico, a new age meditation center. The book is reported by book packager Alexian to have sold more than 1.8 million copies in Mexico since its appearance and Shelter Harbor Press (New York City) has released an English language edition of it this month.

Dílvar tells the story of an unconscious man who is “a slave to the many mistakes and failures he has made in his life…Will the doctors decide to pull the plug or will the narrator get to live one more day for the chance to see his loved ones?”


The Neighbors by Einat Tsarfati (author and illustrator)
Agent: Stephanie Barrouillet, S.B. Rights Agency, Tel Aviv
Reported rights sales:

  • World English: Abrams
  • France: Editions Cambourakis
  • Germany: Ueberreuter Verlag
  • Spain (Spanish): Editorial Tramuntana
  • Spain (Catalan): Editorial Tramuntana
  • Italy: Il Castoro
  • Israel: Keter
  • Brazil: Zahar
  • Turkey: Redhouse Kidz
  • Korea: Seedbook
  • China: Beijing Publishing House
  • Azerbaijan: Teas Press

As told by the narrator of this children’s book, “I live in a building that’s seven stories high. Every floor has a slightly different door. The first door has a lot of locks. That apartment belongs to a family of thieves. They just love ancient Egyptian artifacts. The second door is always surrounded by muddy footprints. That is the home of an old hunter and his pet tiger.”

The book is called a journey through a building and through the eyes of a young girl who imagines who her neighbors are, simply from the appearances of their front doors.


JB MacKinnon

The Day the World Stopped Shopping by JB MacKinnon
Publisher: HarperCollins/Ecco, (Winter 2019)
Agent: Jim Rutman
Rights director: Szilvia Molnar, Sterling Lord Literistic, New York City
Reported rights sales:

  • Canada: Knopf
  • China: Citic
  • Germany: Penguin Verlag
  • Italy: Il Saggiatore
  • Korea: Munhakdongne
  • The Netherlands: Arbeiderspers
  • Spain: Penguin Random House/Debate
  • UK: Bodley Head

“We can’t stop shopping, and yet we must stop shopping—this is the consumer dilemma around which this book revolves.” Amid menacing and alarming expressions of world threat and upheaval—climatic, presidential, martial, ideological—JB MacKinnon has created a probing provocation and thought experiment, The Day the World Stopped Shopping.


Den roda adressboken (The Red Address Book) by Sofia Lundberg
Agent: Julia Angelin, CEO, Salomonsson Agency, Stockholm
Reported rights sales:

  • Brazil: Globo
  • China: Beijing Xiron (Simplified Chinese)
  • Czech Republic: Euromedia
  • Denmark: People’s Press
  • Estonia: Eesti Raamat
  • Finland: Otava
  • France: Calmann-Lévy
  • Germany: Goldmann
  • Greece: Dioptra
  • Hungary: Alexandra
  • Iceland: Bjartur & Veröld
  • Israel: Modan
  • Italy: DeA Planeta
  • Korea: Moonye
  • Lithuania: Baltos Lankos
  • The Netherlands: Ambo Anthos
  • Norway: Cappelen Damm
  • Poland: W.A.B.
  • Portugal: Porto
  • Romania: Litera
  • Russia: Ripol
  • Serbia: Laguna
  • Slovakia: Ikar
  • Spain: HarperCollins
  • Sweden: Forum
  • Turkey: Dogan Egmont
  • UK: The Borough Press
  • USA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Doris, at 96, has had the same address book since 1928. The little red book holds the people she has met and loved throughout her life. Now Doris lives alone in an apartment in central Stockholm. Most of the names in her book are crossed over, gone from this world, and her only visitors are from the home care. Doris’ greatest source of joy are the calls from her grand-niece Jenny on the other side of the Atlantic.

One day Doris begins to write down the story of how she met the people that shaped her life, so that Jenny, who will be the only one to remember Doris, will be able to share her most precious possession: her memories.


Submit Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and rights directors, send an email to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com including the following information:

  • Name of Book (with a link to its page on your agency’s or publishers’ site)
  • Name of Author
  • Original Publisher
  • Name of agent or rights director
  • Name of agency or publisher and in what city it’s located
  • Territory/Language and publisher to which you’ve sold the rights: Country: Publisher
  • Previously sold rights, if any (territory and publisher)
  • Cover image, if available, of the book
  • Author image, if available
  • Descriptive copy about the book from your listings

More of Publishing Perspectives’ rights roundups are here. Our coverage of that runaway rights juggernaut, Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ from Macmillan/Henry Holt is here. And in case you missed it, here are stories about our first Children’s Books Salon held earlier this month in New York City, with international rights directors joining Publishing Perspectives and the Frankfurter Buchmesse New York team at the Goethe-Institut.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.