Rights Roundup: Summertime Offerings in Fiction, Nonfiction, Adult and Children’s Titles

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

With talented writers crossing borders, some 10 nations are represented in our new rights roundup, spanning a clutch of interesting genres and rights opportunities.

Authors represented in this rights roundup, clockwise from upper left, are María Gainza; Sandor Ellix Katz; Stina Jackson; Mahir Guven; Katja Pantzar; Jakub Żulczyk; Sabine Zett; and the late Ana María Matute

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

More sisu, please
An especially eclectic group of titles makes up our late-summer rights roundup today, as we look at work from markets including France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Finland, the States, and Argentina.

Indeed, interesting immigration stories surely lie behind the journeys of a couple of our authors. Stina Jackson is from Skellefteå in northern Sweden, but more than a decade ago she moved to Denver, Colorado. And Mahir Guven was born without nationality in 1986 in Nantes to a Turkish mother and Kurdish father who were refugees in France.

Topically and in terms of genre, we range here from thoroughgoing literary fiction to a 15-year-old nonfiction how-to book–on fermentation, no less–now updated in a second edition that’s bubbling along with a busy roster of international sales.

That call for Nordic contentment is heard yet again. First there was Denmark’s hygge, then Sweden’s  lagom, and today from Helsinki, we bring you Finland’s sisu, which is said to reflect for Finns elements of their national culture including grit, determination, bravery, tenacity, hardiness, and resilience. Many of us these days might want to have what they’re having, thank you.

We also have a children’s book, this time from Germany. It’s about a kid who decides that boosting his popularity means cranking up a YouTube channel for himself. We’re waiting to see if the follow-up is about the boy then writing a book as a big YouTube celebrity.

And a classic in semi-autobiographical work: You’ll see the remarkable list from Barcelona of former rights now opening up for new inquiries, as Ana María Matute’s Primera memoria, a classic of the Spanish Civil War, approaches its 60th year since its original release.

As in each roundup, we use the promotional copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors. We edit that sales copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone.

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


La luz negra (Black Light)

By María Gainza

  • Publisher: Anagrama
  • Rights contact: Sandra Pareja, Casanovas & Lynch, Barcelona
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – Portugal: Dom Quixote
  • Germany: Wagenbach
  • The Netherlands: Podium
  • Sweden: Rastlös

In Gainza’s book, the narrator, an art historian, graduates and takes the first chance she can to work in the field: a job with a government institution solely dedicated to authenticating works of art for museums.

Once gaining her boss’ trust, she learns of a woman who forges paintings which are then certified by the agency, and follows this mysterious artist into a bohemian underworld of European immigrants influencing the Buenos Aires art world.


Finding Sisu

By Katja Pantzar

  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton/Hachette
  • Rights contact: Alina Ahlback, Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – Taiwan, Complex Chinese: My House/Cite
  • NEW – Indonesia: Gramedia Pustaka Utama
  • NEW – Vietnam: Omega/Alpha
  • Bulgaria: Skyprint
  • China: Yeeyan Publishing
  • Czech Republic: Mladá Fronta
  • Finland: Siltala
  • France: Belfond
  • Germany: Bastei Lübbe
  • Hungary: Jaffa Kiado
  • Italy: Marsilio/Sonzogno
  • Japan: Hojosha
  • The Netherlands: Kosmos
  • Poland: WUJ
  • Portugal: Marcador
  • Russia: Eksmo
  • Spain: Roca Editorial (WS)
  • Thailand: OpenBooks
  • Turkey: Mona Kitap/Alfa
  • USA: Tarcher Perigee/Penguin Random House

It’s another bid for a satisfying lifestyle and outlook in the mode of Denmark’s hygge, this one from Finland: The original title of Katja Pantzar’s book is Finding Sisu: In Search of Courage, Strength and Happiness the Finnish Way.

The book is described as “an engaging and practical guided tour of the simple and nature-inspired ways that Finns stay healthy and happy–including the powerful lifestyle concept of sisu.


Silvervägen (Silver Road)

By Stina Jackson

  • Publisher: Albert Bonniers Förlag
  • Rights contact: Elisabet Brännström, Bonnier Rights, Stockholm
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – World English (two books): Corvus/Atlantic (UK)
  • Danish: Lindhardt & Ringhof (two books)
  • Finnish: Otava (two books)
  • German: Goldmann
  • Italian: Longanesi
  • Spanish: RBA

Silver Road is described as “a deeply touching suspense novel”
set in northern Sweden’s wilderness.

In this debut, a “psychologically‐dense” drama unfolds telling a story about never giving up, the need for atonement and the importance of remaining steadfast even in the darkest hour.

Said to write work reminiscent of that of Daniel Woodrell and Emily Fridlund, Stina Jackson incorporates the country noir and Southern Gothic traditions of the United States, according to promotional material, with the Scandinavian crime heritage of her motherland to stellar effect.


Grand frère (Big Brother)

By Mahir Guven

  • Publisher: Philippe Rey
  • Rights contact: Hanna Thorén, L’Autre Agence, Paris
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – Dutch:  Ambo|Anthos Uitgevers
  • World English: Europa Editions
  • Germany: Aufbau
  • Italy E/O Edizioni
  • Catalan: Bromera
  • World Spanish: Navona
  • Portugal: Gradiva
  • Israel: Tamir Sendik
  • Greece: Ikaros
  • Croatia: Sandorf)
  • Poland: Czarna Owca

Mahir Guven’s book is a winner of the 2018 Prix Goncourt for a first novel. The title’s Grand Frère, Big Brother, is a driver, who spends his day working or with his widowed father.

Petit Frère, Little Brother, is a nurse who has gone to work for a Muslim humanitarian organization in Syria, but who has ended up being recruited by an Islamist network. Nothing has been heard from him since.

But one day, according to promotional copy, Petit Frère suddenly returns, moves in with Grand Frère, and refuses to see their father. Everything suggests that he’s preparing a terrorist attack.


Collins geheimer Channel (Collins’ Secret Channel)

By Sabine Zett

  • Publisher: Loewe
  • Rights contact: Friederike Fuxen, Loewe, Bindlach
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – Dutch/The Netherlands: Uitgeverij Holland
  • Turkish/Turkey: Yakamoz Publishing

Collin feels defeated because he’s not the most popular guy at school.

He’s good looking, he has popular friends–he’s anything but a nerd. So why isn’t he cool?

Collin’s best friend Jo-Jo has an idea of how Collin can escape the to leave this anonymous zone: Start a YouTube channel and be a famous influencer with countless followers.


Wzgórze psów (Dog Hill)

By Jakub Żulczyk

  • Publisher: Swiat Ksiązki/Dressler
  • Rights contact: Monika Regulska/Authors’ Syndicate Literary Agency, Warsaw
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – World Russian:  Eksmo-AST

Wzgórze psów is described as an epic novel about a young couple retreating from the big city into the lake district–where the young man was born–to avoid backlash from the financial crisis.

The small countryside town, far away from the urban buzz, is home to brutal crime, power struggles, and corruption.

When a crime from the past emerges with new consequences, the prodigal son has to reinvent himself and his relationship with his father, stepmother, and brother.


Primera memoria (School of the Sun)

By Ana María Matute

  • Publisher: Destino/Planeta
  • Rights contact: Laura Palomares, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells, Barcelona
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – English/UK: Penguin Classics
  • NEW – France: Phébus (Libella)
  • Bulgaria: Nardona Kultura (Expired; now available)
  • Finland: Gumerus (Expired; now available)
  • Germany: Deustche Verlag (Expired; now available)
  • India/Hindi: Confluence International (Expired; now available)
  • Italy/Italian: Società Editrice Internazionale (Expired; now available)
  • Israel: The Book Publishers Association (Expired: now available);
  • The Netherlands: Contact (Expired; now available)
  • Norway: Aschehoug (Expired; now available)
  • Portugal: Lux
  • Czech Republic: Odeon (Expired; now available)
  • Romania: Pentru (Expired; now available)
  • Russia: Dom (Expired; now available)
  • Slovenia: Presernova Druzba (Expired; now available)
  • Sweden: Bonniers (Expired; now available)
  • English/USA: Pantheon, Penguin Classics

The late Ana María Matute (1925-2014) published Primera memoria in 1960 as the first volume in a semi-autobiographical trilogy (Los mercaderes, 1977).

Having been 10 years old at the start of the Spanish Civil War, she witnessed the rise of Franco’s rule and in some cases is said to have been censored and/or fined for her writings. She’d go on to be recognized as one of the greatest of the writers in the post-civil-war era in Spain.

This title–its rights now becoming newly available again in many territories/languages–follows Matia and her cousin Borja into their teen years. They live at their grandmother’s house in a naive and mysterious island world.

“Through the particular vision of the girl without a mother and with a disappeared father we witness her awakening to adolescence, when, having broken the shell of childhood, she’s blinded, astonished, and sometimes hurt in the glow of reality.”


Wild Fermentation

By Sandor Ellix Katz

  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Rights contact: Eliza Haun, White River Junction, Vermont
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEW – Portuguese/Brazil: Sesi Senai Editora
  • Korean: Firforest Publishing
  • Portuguese/Portugal: Lua de Papel
  • Italian: Slow Food Editore
  • French: Les Editions Ulmer
  • Polish: Illuminatio
  • Simplified Chinese: Ginkgo Beijing Book Company
  • Japanese: Tsukiji Shokan Publishing
  • German: Kopp Verlag
  • Spanish: Alfaomega
  • Czech: Grada Publishing

Sandor Ellix Katz, described as a “fermentation revivalist,” is a winner of a James Beard Award and is here represented by the 2016 second edition of his 2003 original book, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

The new version of the book, according to promotional materials, brings the work “a fresh perspective, renewed enthusiasm, and expanded wisdom from [Katz’s] travels around the world. The book provides a joyful and demystifying approach to making and eating fermented food.”


Submit Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and rights directors can use our rights deal submission form to send us the information we need. If you have questions, please send them to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com

As you can see, it’s important that an image be made available to us, both of the book’s cover and of its author. In a sale listing, we also require not only the language/territory into which the title has been sold but the name of the acquiring publishing house.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here.

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.