Rights Roundup: Titles Selling Amid the Pandemic

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Titles with rights sales to report in our roundup come from Finland, Turkey, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and Spain. Included: How many female philosophers can you name?

Authors, illustrators, and editors whose work is represented in this Rights Roundup are, clockwise from upper left, Laura Ertimo (image: Anna Autio); Mari Ahokoivu; Tulin_Kozikoglu; Huban Korman; Eugen Ruge; Irene Vallejo; Kate Kaufmann; Rebecca Buxton; Lisa Whiting; and Sasha Filipenko

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

Input From Agents, Rights Directors
Seeing as much content as most of us working in or around the publishing industry do, it’s not easy to make us stop with two sentences. But, perhaps conditioned as we all are by the relentless advance of the coronavirus COVID-19, these two lines arrested us as we were putting together this Rights Roundup: “God is afraid of me. There are too many uncomfortable questions coming His way.”

They’re spoken to young Alexander by Tatiana, a woman in her 90s who has seen too much of the 20th century in Russia, in the Belorussian author Sasha Filipenko’s Red Crosses, one of the books  you’ll find in our roundup today. It’s repped by Susanne Bauknecht at Diogenes Verlag in Zurich.

Filipenko writes in Russian and lives in St. Petersburg. And with almost 200,000 dead of the virus worldwide—today (April 24), the US total alone has passed 50,000 deaths—we may all have “many uncomfortable questions” headed God’s way. Indeed, in Filipenko’s adopted country, Madeline Roache writes for Time, the coronavirus “crept up slowly and its impact is still far behind many countries in Europe” amid what many charge are late and ineffective distancing restrictions and economic measures.

Our roundup includes work for children as well as adults, nonfiction as well as fiction, a work of self-help, and a crowdfunded book from the UK’s Unbound that almost doubled its ask of backers and is focused on influential women philosophers.

As usual, we’d like to thank the agents and rights directors who have taken the time to share with us some of the titles they’re working with and news of their sales so far. As in each roundup, we use some of the promotional copy supplied to us, editing it 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.

Weird Weather! Why Does Climate Change?
(Ihme ilmat!)

By Laura Ertimo
Illustrated by Mari Ahokoivu

  • Publisher: Into Kustannus, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlbäck, Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – North America: Skyhorse Publishing/Sky Pony Press
  • Estonia: Avita
  • Hungary: Ciceró Könyvstúdió
  • Italy: Mondadori/Edizioni Piemme
  • Lithuania: Obuolys
  • Mexico: (Latin American Spanish rights): Ordinal Books
  • Norway: Aschehoug
  • Poland: Amber
  • Serbia: Odiseja
  • Slovakia: Ikar
  • Spain: Astronave
  • Sweden: Rabén & Sjögren
  • Turkey: Kolektif

Weird Weather! is an accurate but hopeful children’s nonfiction book that explains how humans are responsible for climate change and what we can do to ensure a brighter future. It also gives tips on how everyone can make better choices and practice climate skills every day.

“Climate change won’t be beaten with tiny tricks, and this book also encourages talking to children about how to make changes in society and how working together can change everything.

“Two clever buddies, Lotta and Kasper, get tired of their parents’ evasive answers about weird weather. They decide to research what climate change is really is

Don’t Give Up! (Pes Etmek Yok!)

By Tülin Kozikoğlu
Illustrated by Huban Korman

  • Publisher: İletişim Yayınları, Istanbul
  • Rights contact:Burcu Ünsal, Kalem Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: Ciassa Italia Editore
  • Russia: Foliant
  • Kazakhstan: Foliant

“This is a story about a girl named Ella, who loves to climb trees.

“One day Ella climbs to the top of an apple tree to see distant villages. But thin branches break off and Ella falls down, injuring herself badly. Now she needs to stay at home with her legs and arm in a cast.

“At first, it’s nice not going to the school but months pass by. All the while her parents encourage her by saying ‘Don’t give up.’ This story of determination is the perfect picture book for the surreal times in which we’re living.”

Red Crosses (Krasny Krest)

By Sasha Filipenko

  • Publisher: Vremya, Moscow
  • Rights contact: Susanne Bauknecht, Diogenes Verlag AG, Zurich
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spanish (world rights): Alianza
  • Croatian: Bozicevic
  • Czech: Pistorius
  • Dutch: Meridian
  • English (world rights): Europa Editions
  • French: Éditions des Syrtes
  • German: Diogenes Verlag
  • Hungarian: Európa
  • Italian: Edizioni e/o
  • Polish: Agora

“Alexander is a young man whose life has been brutally torn in two. Tatiana Alexeyevna is over 90 and getting more forgetful by the day. The old lady tells her new neighbor her life story, encompassing the entire Russian 20th century and all its horrors.

“And she tells him: ‘God is afraid of me. There are too many uncomfortable questions coming His way.’

“Bit by bit, the two recognize their own broken hearts in each other and forge an unlikely friendship, a pact against forgetting.”

The Philosopher Queens:
The Lives and Legacies of History’s Unsung Women

Edited by Lisa Whiting and Rebecca Buxton 

  • Publisher: Unbound, London
  • Rights contact: Ilona Chavasse, Unbound
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Dutch: Uitgeverij Lontano
  • German: Mairisch Verlag
  • Romanian: Litera
  • Turkish: Epsilon

“The lives and works of women in philosophy, as told by women in philosophy, this is a collection that highlights 20 prominent women whose ideas have had a profound–but for the most part uncredited–impact on the world.”

Included in the book:

  • Ban Zhao, the first woman historian in ancient Chinese history
  • Angela Davis, perhaps the most iconic symbol of the American Black Power Movement
  • Azizah Y. al-Hibri, known for examining Islamic law and gender equality

In Unbound’s crowdfunded format, the book raised 181 percent of its funding goal from 1,323 supporters.

Below is the video created by Whiting and Buxton for their Unbound campaign.

Do You Have Kids? Life When the Answer is No

By Kate Kaufmann

  • Publisher: She Writes Press, Phoenix
  • Rights contact: Gregory Messina, Linwood Messina Literary Agency, Paris
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Brazil: Leya
  • South Korea: Homilbat
  • Chinese (simplified): People’s Oriental Publishing
  • Chinese (complex): Locus

Do You Have Kids? is a timely work of narrative nonfiction in which the author delves into the increasingly broad-based phenomenon of women without children.

“It’s for women of all ages who do not have children–whether by choice or by chance, single or coupled, gay or straight–who want their experiences explored, acknowledged, and validated.

Do You Have Kids? is designed to be a life-long resource for women without kids and anyone who wants to better understand them.”


By Eugen Ruge

  • Publisher: Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek
  • Rights contact: Katrharina Haas, Rowolt Verlag
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – France: Actes Sud
  • Finland: Atena
  • Greece: Klidarithmos
  • Sweden: Nilsson
  • Russia: Logos

“Eight years after the international success of In Times of Fading Light, Eugen Ruge returns to the history of his family in a prominent contemporary novel.

“In his midst: three people whose convictions are strong, even if the certainties are fading.

“Moscow, 1936: Charlotte, a German communist, has narrowly evaded capture by the Nazis. In late summer that year, she embarks on a journey through her new Heimat, the Soviet Union, accompanied by her husband Wilhelm.”

Infinity in a Reed
(El infinito en un junco)

By Irene Vallejo

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – United States: AA Knopf
  • UK: Hodder
  • Germany: Diogenes
  • France: Les Belles Lettres
  • Holland: Meulenhoff
  • Italy: Bompiani
  • Greece: Metaixmio
  • Portugal: Metaixmio
  • Sweden: Bonniers
  • Denmark: Gutkind
  • Norway: Gyldendal
  • Finland: Schildts & Söndströms
  • Russia: Sindbad
  • Poland : Sonia Draga
  • Brazill: Intrinseca
  • Czech Republic: Leda
  • Bulgaria: Colibri
  • Romania: Pandora
  • Lithuania: Alma
  • Littera Serbia: Laguna
  • Japan: Sakunshinsha
  • China: Offers

“Irene Vallejo takes us on a hypnotic journey through time and space, bringing life to Ancient Rome and Greece as we have never felt before.

“She does so by focusing on the one artifact that lived those years dangerously, in the same way it is now.

“Thirty centuries of the book’s existence and persistence come to life on the page, led by a large cast of characters who have fought for it, from rebels to spies, slaves to nuns, teachers to translators.”

The book has won a Critical Eye honor for narrative (2019) and a nonfiction Bookstores Recommend Prize (2020).

Submitting 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 on the Frankfurter Buchmesse Guest of Honor program is here. More from us on the coronavirus pandemic 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 coverage from China, Belgium, Russia, the Latin American markets, Norway, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the international copyright community and world market data sources.

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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.