Rights Roundup: An Autumn Collection of Fiction and Bird-Watching

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Today’s rights roundup draws on properties from Sweden, Cuba, Argentina, Spain, France, Italy, and Brazil, and covers a range of genres and interests.

Authors represented in today’s rights roundup are, clockwise from upper left, Karina Sainz Borgo; Marco Balzano, Balsam Karam; Philippe J. Dubois and Elise Rousseau; Daniel Birnbaum; Silvia Arazi; Alberto Guerra Naranjo; and Jenny Jägerfeld

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

Politics, Loss, War, and Marriage
Serious marital fiction, socially relevant drama, a fast-selling debut novel, historical fiction, a children’s book with a tale of grief, a Cuban tale of jealousy, and a meditation on birds—and what we could learn from them—are all represented in our rights roundup today.

One selection that might be familiar to you is Animals’ Elections, which is meant to explain a few things about today’s politics to children (or to the rest of us). It was mentioned to us earlier by Tel Aviv-based agent Stephanie Barrouillet.

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.


Händelsehorisonten (Event Horizon)

By Balsam Karam

  • Publisher: Norstedts, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Linda Altrov Berg, Norstedts Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • World Spanish: Temas de Hoy, in a pre-empt

From descriptive copy: “Milde is a young woman from the Outskirts, a place beyond the mountains, a place where mothers and daughters make their living banished from society.

“At 17, during a riot in the city, Milde is arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and presented with a final choice: to face execution in the city or to be sent into space, into a black hole, into the Mass, as part of a research project.

“Milde chooses space – and eternity.”


 La hija de la española  (The Daughter of the Spanish)

By Karina Sainz Borgo

  • Publisher: Lumen Random House Mondadori (Spain, Latin America)
  • Rights contact: Sandra Pareja, Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency, Barcelona
  • Book info: Mentioned here by Carles Geli in El Pais

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Norway: Kagge Forlag
  • World English: HarperOne, 2019
  • Greece: Patakis
  • Lithuania:  Alma Littera
  • Germany: Fischer
  • Italy:  Free Style
  • The Netherlands: Meulenhoff
  • France:  Gallimard
  • Sweden:  Bonnier
  • Israel: Kinneret
  • Portugal:  Alfaguara
  • Brazil:  Intrinsic
  • Hungary:  Jelenko
  • Croatia:  Naklada Ljevak
  • Finland: Aula & Company
  • Norway: Kagge Forlag
  • Czech Republic: Odeon
  • Turkey: Epsilon
  • Romania: Polirom
  • Bulgaria: Janet 45
  • Poland: Zysk

This debut novel–as yet without a cover design or an online listing from its publisher or agent–is reported to be about “a young woman’s loneliness, grief and survival in a city that is no longer home but hell.

“A novel about the realities of Venezuela today and beyond, and a new urgent voice in literature.”

You can find more about the author, Karina Sainz Borgo, in a list of her features as a journalist with VozPopuli. She’s a Venezuelan journalist living in Spain.


Resto qui (I’m Staying Here)

By Marco Balzano

  • Publisher: Giulio Einaudi Editore, Torino
  • Rights contact: Alice Canosi, Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – English/UK: Head of Zeus
  • Germany: Diogenes
  • France: Philippe Rey
  • The Netherlands: De Arbeidespers
  • World Spanish: Duomo Ediciones
  • Chinese: CITIC
  • Israel: Hakkibutz Hameuchad
  • Lithuanian: AlmaLittera
  • Two offers on film and television are in place

From promotional copy: “In Resto qui, behind the eerie view of a bell tower rising from the village of Curon–which stands on the bottom of Lake Resia in southern Tyrol–lies a larger-than-life story.

“Spanning decades, this is the story of that village and the people who fought for years against war and devastation of their beloved land torn apart–the story of a family that lived without compromise, enduring loss and hardships, told by a strong, endearing voice to a distant and lost daughter.”


Eleíção dos bichos (Animals’ Elections) 

Written and illustrated by André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro, Paula Desgualdo and Pedro Markun

  • Publisher: Companhia das Letras, São Paulo
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, SB Rights Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Italy: Terre di Mezzo Editore
  • English (North America): Nancy Paulsen Books
  • Portugal: Penguin Random House
  • Korea: Gilbut
  • Taiwan: Hsinex International Corporation

In a time of political energy in many parts of the world, this title is described as “an important and timely picture book that introduces children to the concept of elections.

“The animals couldn’t stop talking about one thing: the Lion had diverted the water from the river to build a swimming pool in his front burrow. This was the last straw.

“Outraged, the animals started to question whether the Lion should really be the king of the forest.”


Petite philosophie des oiseaux (A Short Philosophy of  Birds)

By Philippe J. Dubois and Elise Rousseau

  • Publisher: Éditions de La Martinière Littérature, Paris
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Italy: Solferino (at auction)
  • Germany: Droemer Knaur (in a pre-empt)
  • UK: Ebury, WEL (in a pre-empt)
  • Korea; Darun (at auction)
  • The Netherlands; Kosmos (in a pre-empt)
  • Spain: Grijalbo (at auction)

According to promotional copy, “There is a lot we can learn from birds.

“In 22 little lessons of wisdom inspired from how birds live, this book invites us to re-center our lives and pay closer attention to our natural inner needs.”


Comedy Queen

By Jenny Jägerfeld

  • Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Jenni Brunn, Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Russia: Albus Corvus
  • China: TB Publishing Limited
  • Denmark: Høst & Søn
  • Estonia: Varrak
  • Finland: Otava
  • Germany: Verlag Urachhaus
  • Italy: DeA Planeta
  • Korea: Beautiful People
  • Norway: Gyldendal
  • Sweden: Rabén & Sjögren
  • Turkey: Domingo

This young readers’ novel with a funny title has a serious story. The 12-year old Sasha is working on finding her way in life after her mother’s suicide.

“Sasha’s survival strategy is to become ‘normal’ and fiercely funny–she must become a comedy queen. If she only succeeds in making people laugh, maybe the other thing will disappear. That thing that lies behind the eyes and burns and threatens to fall down the cheeks in the form of tears.”

The book was shortlisted by the August Prize in the 2018 children’s and YA category, and it won this year’s Swedish Radio Children’s Book Award.


La Soledad del Tiempo (The Loneliness of Time)

By Alberto Guerra Naranjo

  • Publisher: Editorial Guantanamera, Seville
  • Rights contact: Heidi Heinz, Guantanamera Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Croatia: Iris Illyrica

This is described as a novel “about literary racism in Cuba and the competition generated between a black writer and his white counterpart as they try to achieve fame.

“The story of a whole generation, an emotional story of hunger and suffering, envy and fraternity.”


Dr. B

By Daniel Birnbaum

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

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Dutch: Querido
  • English/US: HarperCollins
  • English/UK: 4th Estate
  • Estonian: Rahva
  • French: Gallimard
  • German: Piper
  • Italian: La nave di Teseo
  • Portuguese/EU: Assirio & Alvim

Dr. B is a work of fiction based on the larger-than-life true story of a hitherto unknown World War II drama, played out in the world of book publishing, émigrés, spies and diplomats in 1940s Stockholm.

This is described as “a novel about his grandfather’s strange experiences in Sweden during a chaotic and frightening time. He deliberately and carefully develops the atmosphere of an insecure Stockholm where every step of the way can cost you life.”

Some are drawing comparisons to Lara Prescott’s We Were Never Here with Birnbaum’s book.


La separación / The Separation

By Silvia Arazi

  • Publisher: Galerna, Buenos Aires
  • Rights contact: Laura Palomares, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NEWEST – Czech: Metafora
  • Macedonian: Ars Lamina
  • Arabic: Masaa
  • India/English: Yatra Books

From promotional copy about the book: “I watch a man sleeping who, as of tomorrow, will become my ex-husband forever and who, probably, will never sleep next to me again.”

La separación begins the very night Lucía resolves to split up with her husband and face the changes, some painful and others not devoid of humor, that this new life will bring.

Her story is interspersed with memories and reminiscences of her childhood, gradually weaving the plot of her biography and revealing her as a daughter and a woman.


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 also the name of the acquiring publisher.

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.

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