Rights Roundup: A Post-Frankfurt Look at New Rights Sales

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

From business ‘agility’ to a memoirist’s breakthrough—with Beckett and James Joyce in the mix, as well—these are books to watch as we go deeper into Fall 2018.

Authors represented in this rights roundup, top row from left, are Nélida Piñon; Federico Moccia; Lone Theils (image: Hazel Thompson); Jukka Viikilä; and Håkan Nesser. Bottom row, from left, are Simon Hayward; Annabel Abbs; Fernando J. Muñez; Terese Marie Mailhot; and John Kåre Raake (image: Julie Pike).

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

Range, Reach, and Rights
Our rights roundup includes some titles you may have encountered at Frankfurter Buchmesse, and brings together work from Spain, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Norway, the UK, Finland, Denmark, and the States.

And the range is interesting, encompassing memoir, historical fiction, a mystery series that’s generating film treatments, a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, business guidance, romance, a murder mystery, and even a fictional diary.

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 cocinera de Castamar (The Cook of Castamar)

By Fernando J. Muñez

  • Publisher: Planeta, Madrid
  • Rights contact: Chiara Patsias, IMC Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Germany: C. Bertelsmann (through UnderCover Literary Agents)
  • World Spanish: Planeta

In Muñez’s book, Clara, a well-educated, upper-middle-class girl, finds herself forced to make a living from her cooking skills after losing her father in the 18th-century Spanish War of Succession.

“In spite of her upbringing,” according to the publisher’s statement, “she goes to work at the Manor of Castamar as a kitchen hand. The lord of the manor, Don Diego, lives isolated from the court and its influences after losing his wife in an accident. Clara’s arrival at the manor will turn Diego’s grief-filled world upside down.”


By Håkan Nesser

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

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – China: Modern Press
  • Danish: Modtryk
  • Dutch: De Geus
  • English (UK and Commonwealth): Macmillan/Mantle
  • Estonian: Eesti Ramat
  • Finnish: Tammi
  • German: btb
  • Italian: Ugo Guanda
  • Japanese: Tokyo Sogensha
  • Korean: Daewonsa
  • Norwegian: Gyldendal Norsk
  • Polish: Czarna Owca
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Verus Publishing
  • Russian: Ripol

The book behind the Daniel Alfredson film (scheduled for a release in Germany this month) is a one-volume collection of five short stories:

  • “Tom”
  • “Rein: Death of an Author”
  • “Dear Agnes”
  • “Samaria”
  • “All Information in the Case”

Of those pieces, “Tom” is newly written. The film treatment uses three of the pieces, known as the Intrigo Trilogy.

The stories all share the same fictional setting of Maardam, and each uses a similar narrative structure built around dark secrets threatening to surface. The focus is on guilt, revenge, and atonement.

Vozes do deserto (Voices of the Desert)

By Nélida Piñon

  • Publisher: Grupo Editorial Record, Brazil
  • Rights contact: Laura Palomares, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Romanian: Vellant
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Grupo Editorial Record
  • Portuguese (Portugal): Circulo de Leitores, Candeia, Temas e Debates
  • English: Alfred A. Knopf (Expired)
  • Spanish: Santillana/Alfaguara
  • Italian: Voland (Expired)
  • Serbian Strik

Something of a classic here, the 2004 Voices of the Desert is set in the 13th-century royal court of Baghdad and is a retelling of the Scheherezade legend. Piñon, now 81, is the Rio-born daughter of Galician immigrants whose first novel, The Guidebook of the Archangel Gabriel, was written in 1961.

As the novel opens, the Caliph, betrayed by the Sultana, vows to take his revenge on the women of his kingdom by marrying a different virgin each night and executing her at dawn. Born into privilege, a daughter of the Vizier, Scheherazade decides to risk her life by marrying the Caliph, in an effort to save the women of Baghdad.

Tre metri sopra il cielo (Three Meters Above Heaven)

By Federico Moccia

  • Publisher: Casa Editrice Nord, Milano
  • Rights contact: Maria Cardona, Pontas Literary & Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – World English: USA, Grand Central Publishing
  • Catalan: Columna
  • French: City Éditions
  • Hungarian: Cicero/Gabo
  • Polish: Muza
  • Romanian: Bestseller Publishing
  • Russian: Ripol
  • Serbian: Carobna
  • Spanish: Planeta

The first two books in Federico Moccia’s “Three Meters Above Heaven” trilogy–Three Meters Above Heaven and I Want You–are said to have been major sellers in Italy, “spending three full years on the Nielsen bestseller list,” according to the Pontas Agency. It would be 25 years later, in 2017, that Moccia would publish the third book, Three Times You (Tre volte te). The Grand Central Publishing deal will introduce the stories to English.

The basic story line follows Babi, is a good student and the perfect daughter. Step, by contrast, is violent and brazen. Their love is difficult, Step returns to Rome from New York where they were together, but Babi lingers in his memories. He then meets Gin by chance and thinks it may be possible to experience the magic of a first love again. And 10 years later, the three return to close their love story.

The Ice

By John Kåre Raake

  • Publisher: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, Oslo (2019)
  • Rights contact: Astrid Dalaker, Northern Stories
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST –  Germany: Goldmann Verlag

In this novel, set for publication next year, former special forces commando Anna Aune has abandoned the world and everyone in it, and is hiding out in a hovercraft at the North Pole. She’s there for the duration of the Arctic winter to document the destruction unleashed by climate change.

On All Saints’ Day, the pitch-black sky is suddenly lit up by a distress flare shot up from a Chinese research station. Anna and her colleague are the only ones close enough to go to their rescue. But is the flare a cry for help, or a warning sign?

The Agile Leader

By Simon Hayward

  • Publisher: Kogan Page Ltd., London
  • Rights contact: Amy Joyner, Kogan Page
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – World Vietnamese: Ho chi Minh City General Publishing House
  • World Russian: Eksmo

From the publisher: “Harness a powerful leadership program based on agile thinking to best deal with the modern, uncertain, volatile and ambiguous business world.

“With the rise of political unrest, protectionism and economic uncertainties, business leaders have to assess, react and implement strategies rapidly and with enough responsiveness to re-calibrate their efforts should circumstance change. When presented with key moments of choice, agility allows them to move quickly and responsively, and offer coping strategies for this unprecedented rate of change.”

Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista (Watercolors From a Seaside City)

By Jukka Viikilä

  • Publisher: Gummerus, Helskinki
  • Rights contact: Urpu Strellman, Helsinki Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – France: Gallimard
  • Estonia: Post Factum (Eesti Meedia)
  • Serbia: Akademska Knjiga

In 1816, the German architect Carl Ludvig Engel arrives in Helsinki to begin what will become his life’s work, designing Finland’s capital.
Watercolors from a Seaside City is Engel’s fictional diary, which vividly brings the Helsinki of the early 19th century to life. It draws a portrait of a man who mirrors himself in the slowly growing capital and the people in it.

Watercolors from a Seaside City was awarded the Finlandia Prize and has so far sold 44,000 copies.

The Joyce Girl

By Annabel Abbs

  • Publisher: Impress Books, Devon
  • Rights contact: Sharon Galant, Zeitgeist Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – English, North America: HarperCollins / William Morrow
  • English, Australia and New Zealand: Hachette
  • Germany: Aufbau Verlag
  • Turkey: Hep Kitap
  • Spain: Galaxia Gutenberg
  • Russia: Centrepolygraph
  • Bulgaria: EMAS
  • Poland: Wydawnictwo WAM

In 1928, avant-garde Paris buzzes with the latest ideas in art, music, literature, and dance. Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, is making her name as a dancer.

When young Samuel Beckett comes to work for her father, she’s captivated by his quiet intensity and falls passionately in love. But hidden threads of the Joyces’ lives begin to unravel, destroying Lucia’s dreams and her attempts to escape the shadow of her genius father.

Heart Berries

By Terese Marie Mailhot

  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press, Berkeley
  • Rights contact: Judy Klein, Kleinworks Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – World Spanish: Planeta Mexico
  • English (UK and Commonwealth): Bloomsbury
  • Korea: Iryoil Books
  • Canada (English): Doubleday Canada
  • Canada (French): Marchand de feuilles

A New York Times bestseller and Times Editor’s Choice, Heart Berries is the memoir of a woman’s coming of age on a Native American reservation.

Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. With Heart Berries, she discovers her voice and a place in the world.

Hekse Drengen (The Witch Boy)

By Lone Theils

  • Publisher: Lindhardt & Ringhof, Copenhagen
  • Rights contact: Lena Stjernström, Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Czech Republic: Euromedia
  • Finland: Aula and Company
  • Germany: Rowholt

The brutally mangled body of a Nigerian professor is discovered in a church yard in London, shortly after he has had a secret meeting there with Nora Sand, the London correspondent for a national Danish magazine.

In the third installment of the Nora Sand series, two complicated cases merge and Nora’s private life is a casualty.

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 is of high importance in titles we choose to list 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 publishing house.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here.

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.