Rights Roundup: Books That Were To Be Presented at London Book Fair 2020

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

You might have encountered the works in this Rights Roundup at London Book Fair—had the coronavirus not intervened. They come from Finland, the United States, Spain, France, Sweden, and Italy.

Authors whose work is represented in this Rights Roundup are, clockwise from upper left, José Carlos Somoza; Kelly Noonan Gores (image: Annie Shak); Max Seeck; Mariana Enriquez; Alfredo Accatino; Gustav Tegby (image: Kajsa Göransson); David Djaȋz (image: Olivier Marty); and Barbara Demick.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
The Rights Sales Do Go On
Elsewhere in today’s (March 20) edition—publishing shortly after this story does—you’ll find our story on the rights department at Dioptra Publishing in Athens. Our interview comments with them come not from their offices but from their homes. They’re working remotely. But they’re working.

And today, what you see in our Rights Roundup is a group of titles that would have been presented at London Book Fair’s usually roaring International Rights Center of which, of course, was shuttered with the rest of the trade show just six days before its planned opening.

In market after market, the world publishing industry’s great spring season trade shows, fairs, and festivals are being canceled and postponed because of the contagion. Also in today’s edition, you’ll find the latest of these announcements: New York City’s BookExpo is being postponed at least until July, along with its international rights-trading forum, the New York Rights Fair.

And while frequently the titles we highlight in our roundups have strong sales histories already in place, you’ll notice that some of the ones we bring you today would have made their rights debuts in London. They’re waiting for calls from countries battling varying levels of assault from COVID-19.

We’d also like to commend to you the work of Margaret Heffernan, whose Uncharted: How To Map the Future (Simon & Schuster UK, February 20) has a lot of wisdom on epidemics and more. Our interview with her is here.

We wish the authors and publishing professionals connected with these books—and their readers—every possible advantage in facing the contagion now reported in 150 nations, up from 147 just yesterday. Please take this threat seriously, as the planetary caseload, at this writing, is passing 244,100.

Let’s begin with an appropriate title.


By Kelly Noonan Gores

  • Publisher: Atria / Beyond Words Publishing, New York
  • Rights contact: Sylvia Harse, Beyond Words Publishing
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Greek: Pedio Publishing
  • Finnish: Viisas Elämä
  • Bulgarian: Hermes Publishing
  • Slovakian: Engo
  • Slovenian: Primus
  • Chinese Taiwan: Sun Color Taiwan
  • Romanian: Elena Fransisc Publishing
  • UK, English: Piatkus/Little Brown
  • Brazil, Portuguese: Madras Editorial
  • Italian: Mondadori
  • Polish: AMBER
  • Czech: Metafora
  • Portugal, Portuguese: Lua de Papel
  • Hungarian: Edesviz Kiado
  • Spanish: Urano/Zarana
  • Dutch: Akasha
  • Korean: Shanti Books
  • Danish: Gyldendal
  • Russian: AST
  • French: Tredaniel
  • Japanese: Kadokawa
  • German: Scorpio Trinity Verlag

“Author Kelly Noonan takes us on a scientific and spiritual journey where we discover that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions have a huge impact on our health and ability to heal from illness and injury. The latest science reveals that we aren’t victims of unchangeable genes, nor should we buy into a scary prognosis. Our attitudes and environment have a larger effect than we’ve been led to believe by allopathic medicine over the last century.

“Heal not only taps into the brilliant minds of leading scientists and spiritual teachers, but follows two people on actual healing journeys. You’ll follow Elizabeth’s journey to overcome stage-4 cancer with a combination of Western medical treatment, Eastern medicine, and spiritual healing. You’ll also follow Eva, a single parent searching for the root cause of a mystery disorder.

“Through these inspiring and emotional stories we find out what works, what doesn’t, and why. ”

A Study in Black
(Estudio en negro) 

By José Carlos Somoza

  • Publisher: Espasa, Miami
  • Rights contact: Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Russia: Azbooka
  • Greece: Patakis
  • Japan: Take Shobo (a five-figure, three-book deal at auction)

“Nurse Anne McCarey in 1900s England, is weary of life in London and flees a stormy relationship, accepting a job caring for a patient at an exclusive clinic for the mentally ill in Southsea, in the coastal city of Portsmouth. For someone with her experience, the work couldn’t be easier.

“But what she finds there isn’t what she expected. The patient, identified simply as Mr. X, can discover the deepest secrets of the people around him without leaving his room, which is always dark.

“Added to this duo is the young Dr Arthur Conan Doyle, who comes to the clinic to attend to Mr X. He’s practicing medicine in Southsea and developing a character for his next novel: the most famous fictional detective of all time.”

Faithful Reader
(Uskollen lukija)

By Max Seeck

  • Publisher: Tammi, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Toomas Aasmäe, Ahlback Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – USA: Penguin Random House / Berkley
  • Television rights: Stampede Ventures
  • Albania: Muza
  • Arabic: Arab Scientific Publishers (World Arabic)
  • Belgium: A.W. Bruna (two-book deal)
  • Bulgaria: Emas (two-book deal)
  • Canada: Berkley/Penguin Random House (two-book deal)
  • Croatia: Fokus
  • Czech Republic: Grada (two-book deal)
  • Estonia: Pegasus (two-book deal)
  • Iceland: Forlagid
  • Israel: Tchelet Books
  • Italy: Piemme/Mondadori
  • France: Michel Lafon (two-book deal)
  • Germany: Bastei Lübbe (two-book deal)
  • Greece: Livani (two-book deal)
  • Hungary: Animus (two-book deal)
  • Korea: Cheongmirae
  • Latvia: Latvijas Mediji (two-book deal)
  • Lithuania: Baltos lankos
  • Macedonia: Matica (two-book deal)
  • The Netherlands: A.W. Bruna (two-book deal)
  • Norway: Aschehoug (two-book deal)
  • Poland: Sonia Draga (two-book deal)
  • Portugal: Bertrand Editora (two-book deal)
  • Romania: Litera (two-book deal)
  • Russia: AST
  • Serbia: Vulkan (two-book deal)
  • Slovenia: Didakta (two-book deal)
  • Slovakia: Motýľ
  • Spain: Editorial Maeva/Maeva Noir
  • Sweden: Albert Bonniers Förlag
  • Turkey: Doğan Kitap
  • UK: Welbeck Publishing UK (two-book deal)

“Detective Jessica Niemi is called to investigate a murder case that’s out of ordinary. The wife of a famous writer, Roger Koponen, seems to have been killed in a bizarre ritual. As more ritual murders occur, it becomes obvious that Jessica is after a serial killer.

“But the murders are not random. They follow a pattern taken from Roger’s bestselling trilogy. Has a fan gone mad, or is this case more personal?”

Our Share of Night
(Nuestra Parte de noche)

By Mariana Enriquez

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – The Netherlands: De Bezige Bij
  • USA: Hogarth,
  • Italy: Marsilio
  • France: Sous sol
  • UK: Granta
  • Sweden: Norstedts
  • Norway: Gyldendal
  • Portugal: Quetzal
  • Brazil: Intrínseca
  • Poland: Czarna Owca
  • China: FLTRP – Intertext
  • Taiwan: Ecus
  • Slovakia; Inaque

“A winner of the 37th Premio Herralde de Novela 2019, Our Share of Night is a Latin American novel with narrators and characters who span the world in intersecting national underground histories.

The book, by an author promoted as “the queen of gothic realism,” brings together “universal themes of family, eternity, and power in a story of secret societies and secret beings who seek to redefine life and death.”

Slow Democracy
(Slow démocratie)

By David Djaïz

  • Publisher: Allary Editions, Paris
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – The Netherlands: Uitgeverij Pluim (in a pre-empt)

In Slow Democracy, Djaïz—a professor at France’s Sciences Po school—aligns with Yascha Mounk and Jérôme Fourquet, arguing that Western democracies need to regain control of their own fates.

“The tool that will allow them to do that is “nations.” Not the ones loved by nationalists and anti-Europeans but the nations that will allow us to rebuild our lost political, social, and territorial unity.”

The book is supportive of “open, social, ecological, and humanist nations.”


By Gustav Tegby

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: Giunti
  • Czech Republic: Dubrovsky

“Sixteen-year-old Elin has been trapped with her dad in a one room apartment her entire life. Everything she knows about the outside world she has picked up through films and on Internet, and from what she has seen from the kitchen window and heard through the walls.

“A normal life outside the apartment is impossible because Elin was born with an incredible ability—or a curse. Everyone she touches dies, at least if you believe what her father says.”

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town

By Barbara Demick

  • Publisher: Penguin Random House, New York
  • Rights contact: Szilvia Molnar, Sterling Lord Literistic
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Germany: Droemer Verlag
  • Australia and New Zealand: Text
  • UK: Granta

“Disenchanted Westerners frequently turn to Tibetan Buddhism to salve their existential anxieties, but many of them know little about the 6 million people living in Tibet.

“Journalist Barbara Demick looks to rectify this with Eat the Buddha, a work of narrative nonfiction.

“After several years of reporting, Demick explicates the complex history of a country that has never been fully granted independence and the continuous daily struggles of that country’s citizens.”

Outsiders, Volumes 1 and 2

By Alfredo Accatino

  • Publisher: Giunti Editore, Firenze
  • Rights contact: LeeAnn Bortolussi at Giunti
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Russia: Slovo

Accatino’s two volumes of Outsiders are described as “a journey through the amazing off-the-record history of modern art that delves into what determines the success of artists and their art.

“These two volumes tell the stories of more than 50 men and women who deserved, but were denied, a place in the annals of 20th-century art.

“The stories their images tell are incredible, revealing how art can be a burdensome gift—and how mediocre artists may have left many insignificant works and one final, triumphant masterpiece.”

The first volume comprises 34 stories of men and women whose “splinters of creativity,” the publisher says, “leave you flabbergasted.

The second volume is made up of “new stories of artists who have had adventurous lives—for better and more often, for evil. “Sometimes they’re extraordinary figures of innovation who haven’t had the success they deserve, and sometimes they’re involuntary or voluntary protagonists of difficult moments in recent history. Sometimes they’re simply hampered by psychological problems, by their political ideas, by poverty.

“But all are sensational stories.”

Submitting Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

As in each roundup, we use some of the promotional copy supplied to us today by agents and rights directors, editing that copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone but to set aside some of the most promotional phrasing.

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 also ask that you read at least one edition of a Rights Roundup fully, and pay attention to our style. We write titles in italics, not all-caps. We write out the names of markets, as in “Australia and New Zealand,” not “ANZ.” Your attention to these factors can save a great deal of time in our preparation and at times your compliance may be the deciding factor in whether we have time to process your submission or move on to another.

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here. More from Publishing Perspectives the coronavirus outbreak is here.

Download your free copy of our Spring Magazine here

In our Spring 2020 Magazine, Publishing Perspectives has interviewed publishers, industry experts, entrepreneurs, and authors to present a look at the book business for the coming year. Inside this issue of Publishing Perspectives Magazine, you’ll find articles and resources including:

  • Publishing and the coronavirus
  • Richard Charkin’s view of key industry challenges
  • China’s growing comic book market
  • Brussels Book Fair debuts its rights center
  • Eksmo CEO Evgeny Kapyev on Russia’s book market
  • Matchmaking for publishers and producers in Latin America
  • Book market data
  • A world tour of copyright developments
  • Translation sales resulting from Norway’s Frankfurter Buchmesse guest of honor program
  • An AI startup creating interactive stories
  • An interview with author Andrew Keen

Download ‘Publishing in Times of Crisis’ free of charge 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.