Rights Roundup: A Season of Sales

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

From Italy, the United States, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, here’s a year-end look at titles, fiction and nonfiction, with tidings of brisk rights activity.

Fir trees in Finland. Image – iStockphoto: WMaster 890

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
For the Season of Self-Help and Beyond
Because ’tis the season, we’ve included three self-help works for you here (you’re welcome), including one from Germany that gets you closer to your inner child; another from Sweden that asks you to be considerate to your brain because it was designed long before the screen you’re reading this on; and a third from HarperCollins that’s the 38-year-old Finnish philosopher Frank Martela’s take on the meaning of existence.

Martela’s book is A Wonderful Life, not to be confused with that other Frank (Capra) and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Film, however, figures into the rights sales of another title in our roundup, Grand Hotel Europa from the Dutch author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. It has a lot to do with European identity, which seems a good thing to remember, even in a nostalgic way, because of certain general election results in a certain English-language market.

For the kids, the middle-grade Wild House by Siri Kolu has illustrations by Johanna Lumme (and a house on legs–remember Baba Yaga?). Spain’s Juan Jacinto Muñoz Rengel has had his The Hypochondriacal Hitman published in Barcelona. And from Germany’s Rowohlt, we’re looking at the first book in Carmen Korn’s trilogy, Daughters of a New Time, about women in the early 1900s.

Maybe most poignant is Laura Imai Messina’s What We Entrust to the Wind from Italy’s Edizioni Piemme, about being in touch with those you love, both the ones still here and the ones no longer with us.

As in each roundup, we use some of the promotional copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors, editing that 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.

And we’ll see you in 2020, with our best wishes to you for a good new year.

Authors represented in this Rights Round up are, clockwise from upper left, Stefanie Stahl (image: Roswitha Kaster); Anders Hansen (image: Stefan Tell); Siri Kolu; Juan Jacinto Muñoz Rengel; Laura Imai Messina; Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer; Carmen Korn, and Frank Martela

The Child Within You Must Find A Home
(Das Kind in dir muss Heimat finden)

By Stefanie Stahl

  • Publisher: Kailash/Random House Germany, Munich
  • Rights contact: Gesche Wendebourg, Verlagsgruppe Random House
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – USA/World English: Viking/Penguin Random House
  • Chinese: Beijing Zhengqing
  • Croatian: Harfa
  • Czech: Noxi
  • Danish: Bechs Forlag
  • Dutch: Panta Rhei
  • Estonian: Tänapäev
  • French: Trédaniel
  • Greek: Dioptra
  • Hungarian: Park
  • Italian: BIS
  • Korean: Sam & Parkers
  • Latvian: Lina Family Psychology Center
  • Polish: Otwarte
  • Romanian: Grup Media Litera
  • Russian: Eksmo
  • Serbian: Laguna
  • Slovakian: Noxi
  • Slovenian: Ucila
  • Spanish: EDAF
  • Taiwan/Chinese: China Times Publ.Co.
  • Thai: Six Facets Press
  • Turkish: Pegasus

From the publisher: “During childhood, we develop the sense of trust and self-confidence that will help us through life as adults. But the traumas we also experienced in childhood unconsciously shape and determine our entire relationship life.

“Author Stefanie Stahl has developed a new, effective approach, proposing that if we make friends with this ‘inner child,’ we can find ways to resolve conflicts, make relationships happier, and find answers to almost any problem.”

Screen Brain

ByAnders Hansen

  • Publisher: Bonnier Fakta, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Ludvig Kullander, Bonnier Rights
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Japanese: Schinchosa Publishing
  • Newest – Ukrainian: Nash Format
  • Czech: Portal
  • Estonian: Varrak
  • Korean: Dongyang
  • Lithuanian: Balto
  • Norwegian: Cappelen Damm
  • Polish: ZNAK
  • Russian: Ripol
  • Serbian: Vulkan
  • Spanish: Under offer

From the publisher: Psychiatrist Anders Hansen has sold 625,000 copies of his books and here shows the reader in an accessible yet professional way what happens to the brain when it’s constantly switched on.

“With just a little more insight and knowledge, you’ll soon realize that you, too, should start treating your brain better. After all, the human brain was created in a completely different era. No matter how much you like to watch the images stream on Instagram, the news on your mobile, or the movies on your smartwatch, your brain is not adapted to today. It’s simply out of sync with our time.”

Wild House

By Siri Kolu, illustrated by Johanna Lumme

  • Publisher: Otava Publishing Company, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Hanna Pajunen-Walsh, Rights and Brands
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – German: Fischer Kinder und Jugendbuch Verlag
  • Turkish: Ayrinti Yayinlari

From the rights agency: “Wild House is a contemporary middle-grade adventure with speedy chasing scenes, secretive characters, and a house so full of secrets that it grows legs and runs away.

“Tomtom’s family feel like the luckiest bunch alive when they get to move into the caretaker’s house at an old ornate villa. The villa is owned by a mysterious millionaire and it has been split into flats, occupied by a carefully selected, diverse cast of tenants. Tomtom writes to his best friend Amir about the move, only to discover the next day that not only has he moved, but the house has moved away, too.

Why does the house have legs? How do you ride the house? Who is chasing the house? The children of the house are on a quest to find out.”

The story is illustrated in black-and-white by Johanna Lumme.

The Hypochondriacal Hitman
(El Asesino Hipocondríaco)

By Juan Jacinto Muñoz Rengel

  • Publisher: Plaza & Janés/Penguin Random House, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Laura Palomares, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Finnish: Moebius
  • French: Les Escales
  • Italian: Lit Edizioni/Elliot
  • Turkey: Yapi Kredi Yayinlari

From the publisher: “Mr. Y just has to finish one last job as a hitman, but to do this he must overcome so many diseases that you’d think he was a medical miracle.

“The book establishes a magical connection between Mr. Y’s own struggles and the great physical, psychological, and imaginary suffering that tortured Poe, Proust, Voltaire, Tolstoy, Molière–and all the other famous hypochondriacs in the history of literature.”

Here’s a promotional trailer for the book:

Daughters of a New Time
Töchter einer neuen Zeit)

By Carmen Korn

  • Publisher: Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, Reinbek
  • Rights contact: Katharina Haas, Rowohlt Verlag
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Czech: Prostor
  • Ducth: Singatuur
  • Italian: Fazi
  • Norwegian: Bazar
  • Spain/Catalan: Grup 62
  • Spain /Spanish: Planeta

From the agency: “The year 1900 saw an exceptionally high birth rate and produced a generation of women who would have to endure two world wars.

“Henny Godhusen is one of those women. She’s only 18 when peace is declared. Henny is sure that the dark years are behind her for good. Full of zest for life, she begins training as a midwife in the spring of 1919 at a women’s clinic in Hamburg’s Uhlenhorst quarter.”

This is the first book in a trilogy.

A Wonderful Life:
Why Happiness Is Not Enough for a Life Worth Living

By Frank Martela

  • Publisher: HarperCollins/Harper Design, New York
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlbäck, Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Japanese: HarperCollins Japan
  • Dutch: Ambo Anthos
  • Finnish: Gummerus
  • Estonian: Rahva Raamat
  • Korean: Across Publishing
  • Russian: Eksmo/Bombora

From the publisher: “Finland’s Frank Martela takes you on a voyage through the history, philosophy, and psychology of meaningfulness and worthy living.

“The journey starts in the 19th century,” when Scottish author Thomas Carlyle is asserted to have been the first person to use the phrase ‘meaning’ of life.

“The life stories of Carlyle and Russia’s Leo Tolstoy serve as representative examples of the transformation that this book aims to guide a reader through. An answer is provided to the question of meaning that’s compatible with latest scientific knowledge about human nature, yet still inspiring and actionable.”

What We Entrust to the Wind

By Laura Imai Messina

  • Publisher: Mondadori/Edizioni Piemme, Milan
  • Rights contact: Beatrice D’Anna, Grandi & Associati Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Chinese: (Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong): Chi Ming Publishing
  • Lithuanian: Alma Littera
  • Spanish (Castillan): Salamandra
  • French: Albin Michel
  • German: Btb Verlag
  • Japanese: Hayakawa
  • Greek: Patakis
  • Serbian: Vulkan
  • Turkish: Kafka Kitap
  • Dutch: AW Bruna

From the publisher: “This novel begins with Yui, a 30-year-old woman facing a typhoon on a hill in Japan and protecting an old phone booth.

“During the tsunami of 2011, she lost her mother and daughter, and also much of the joy of being in the world. She learns of the existence of a wireless telephone booth connected only with the wind. People go there to talk to their departed loved ones.

“There, Yui meets Takeshi. They recognize themselves in each other’s pain and end up finding common ground.”

Grand Hotel Europa

By Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer

  • Publisher: Uitgeverij Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam
  • Rights contact: Jolijn Spooren, Singel Uitgeverijen
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Bulgarina: Colibri
  • German: Piper Verlag
  • English/North American): Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • English/UK and Commonwealth): 4th Estate
  • Finnish: Gummerus
  • French: Presses de la Cité / Feux Croisés
  • Italian: Nutrimenti
  • Croatian: V.B.Z.
  • Macedonian: Antolog
  • Norwegian: Gyldendal
  • Portuese: Porto Editora
  • Spanish/Spain: Acantilado
  • Czech: Host
  • Film rights: Dutch (television)–dramatic series, rights sold to Hollands Licht/BlazHoffski

From the publisher: “Grand Hotel Europa is Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s great novel about the old continent, where there’s so much past that there’s no room for the future anymore and where the most realistic future perspective is offered by exploiting that past in the form of tourism.

“It’s a theatrical and lyrical book about European identity, nostalgia, and the end of an era. It is, however disturbing it may be, Pfeijffer’s best book to date.”

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 publisher to which the title has been sold in that territory.

The correct format is:

  • Country, Language or Territory: Publisher

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on rights in the world industry is 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.