Rights Roundup: Tracking Strong Sales in International Deals

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Titles today come from India, Sweden, the UK, Finland, Italy, and Norway. They include narrative art books, adult fiction, YA, children’s fiction and nonfiction, and historical train fiction.

Authors and illustrators whose work is represented in this Rights Roundup are, top row from left: Simon Stålenhag (image: Fredrik Bernholm); Maria Turtschaninoff; Sam Sedgman (image: Jamie Isbell); and MG Leonard (image: Jamie Isbell). Center row from left: Elisa Paganelli; Shubhangi Swarup; Nina Brochmann (image: Anne Valeur); and Ellen Stokken Dahl (image: Anne Valeur). And on the bottom row from left: Magnhild Winsnes; Barbara van den Speurhof; Marta Barone; and Pascal Engman (image: Thron Ullberg)

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

‘Not Everything in Life Makes Sense’
On our accelerated schedule of Rights Roundups during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see rights directors and literary agents working to open new digital routes to trade—one example being the Brazilian Publishers’ new app releasing Monday (May 25) to help support international rights trade.

MG Leonard, Sam Sedgman, and Elisa Paganelli’s Pan Mac ‘Adventures on Trains’ series sets young reasders’ mystery tales on historic trains and routes

Many of the titles in today’s (May 22) roundup have strong lists of sales, a lot of traction. And while we typically stress books that are finding good response on the rights scene, our next Rights Roundup (coming out in about two weeks) is to focus on titles that are newer to market and have yet to make as many sales.

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.

We start our listings today with two books from the Swedish artist and author Simon Stålenhag. A film adaptation of his Tales from the Loop with Jonathan Pryce and Jane Alexander was released on Amazon Prime on April 3 in Nathaniel Halpern’s eight-episode series written with Stålenhag as consultant and co-executive producer. The series is a production of 6th & Idaho Productions, Amazon Studios, and Fox 21 Television and it reminds us of Richard Charkin earlier this week writing to publishers, “Forget all the failed attempts at finding synergies with multimedia. Try again.”

Some who read and/or see this work will think of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke for the way Stålenhag positions his references to science and technology—quiet, murmuring retro-backdrops to explorations of family, envy, opportunism, loyalty, loss, and longing. We start with this today because there’s something timely in what Stålenhag knows about persistent, underlying disturbance—and about what’s random and what isn’t.

At this writing, the 3:32 a.m. ET update (0732 GMT) of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports a world total of 5,107,572 cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 infection, with a death toll of 333,032.

As one character says in his and Halpern’s new series, “Not everything in life makes sense.”

Tales From the Loop (2014)
The Electric State (2017)

By Simon Stålenhag

  • Publisher: Fria Ligan, Stockholm (2014 and 2017)
  • Rights contact: Julia Angelin, Salomonsson Agency
  • Book info: Read more here about Tales from the Loop and read more here about The Electric State

Reported rights sales for Tales from the Loop (Ur varselklotet):

  • Newest – US (world English): Skybound Books/Gallery Books
  • China (simplified Chinese): Guomai
  • Czech Republic: Argo
  • Denmark: Alvilda
  • Germany: S. Fischer
  • Hungary: Agave
  • Italy: Mondadori
  • Japan: Graphic-sha
  • Russia: Eksmo
  • Slovakia: Albatros
  • Spain: Roca
  • Sweden, Fria Ligan
  • Taiwan (complex Chinese): Chi Ming
  • UK: Simon & Schuster
  • US (film): Fox

Reported rights sales for The Electric State (Passagen):

  • Newest – Hungary: Agave
  • Brazil: Companhia das Letras
  • China (simplified Chinese): Guomai
  • Czech Republic: Argo
  • Denmark: Alvilda
  • Finland: Johnny Kniga
  • Germany: S. Fischer
  • Italy: Mondadori
  • Japan: Graphic-sha
  • South Korea: Minumsa
  • Russia: Eksmo
  • Slovakia: Albatros
  • Spain: RocaUK, Simon & Schuster
  • Taiwan (complex Chinese): Chi Ming
  • UK: Simon & Schuster
  • US: Atria/Skybound Books
  • US (film): AGBO

Tales from the Loop

Tales from the Loop (2014) is followed in Stålenhag’s work by Things From the Flood (Flodskördenand , 2016). There’s information on Salomonsson’s agency pages about Things From the Flood, as well, and you can find it here.

As is clarified in the new streaming series based on the first book, however, this premise of the Mälarö facility locally called the Loop works like the landscape itself (moved to Mercer, Ohio, in the production). The inhabitants, who live above the underground accelerator find themselves playing out life-changing fables of relationship, dependency, and allegiance, with the hulking remnants of tech and industrial artifacts as landmarks.

This is less sci-fi than fi-sci, as in fiction set against a background of science with its emphasis not on anything to do with technology but on the human and humane fictional heart of the work.

The Electric State

A road trip set in 1997, this book is set in a United States strewn with the wreckage of commercial entertainment iconography.

Once again, what Stålenhag shows readers is not the ascendency of a technological vision but its fragility. Branding, the storefront of commercial progress, he seems to say, is just as vulnerable.

Below is his Swedish publisher Fria Ligan’s trailer for this book. A film edition of this one from AGBO reportedly has Andy Muschietti attached to direct, with a screenplay from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.


By Maria Turtschaninoff

  • Publisher: Schildts & Söderströms, Helsinki (2014)
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlbäck, Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Croatia: Naklada Ljevak
  • Alabania: Dritan
  • Azerbaijan: Alatoran
  • Belgium: Clavis
  • Brazil: Morro Branco
  • Bulgaria: Izida
  • Canada (French language): Editions de la Bagnole
  • China (simplified Chinese): Shanghai 99
  • Denmark: Turbine
  • Estonia: Varrak
  • Finland: Tammi
  • France: Rageot
  • Germany: Random House/Heyne
  • Hungary: Scolar
  • Italy: Atmosphere Libri
  • Latvia: Petergailis
  • The Netherlands: Clavis
  • Norway: Gursli Berg Forlag
  • Poland: Wydawnictwo Debit
  • World Spanish: Penguin Random House/Alfaguara
  • Sweden: Berghs
  • Turkey: Altın Kitaplar
  • United Kingdom: Pushkin Press
  • United States: Abrams

Marisi, a 2014 title, is the first book in Turtschaninoff ‘s “The Red Abbey” YA series.

“The Red Abbey is a women and girls’ refuge in which everyone pursues their own areas of interest. Maresi prefers to spend her time reading and learning.

“Everything changes when the frightened Jai arrives on the island. She has seen her sister buried alive for speaking to a young man, and her father and a crew of thugs are after her. Maresi and her friends have to fight to defend both Jai and their community.”

The Highland Falcon Thief

By MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman
Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

  • Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, UK (January 2020)
  • Rights contact: Joanna Lawrie, head of rights, Macmillan
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Russia: Azbooka-Atticus Publishing Group
  • Greece: Minoas
  • Italy: Mondadori Libri S.p.A
  • Sweden: Opal
  • The Netherlands: De Fontein
  • Spain/Catalan: Grup 62)
  • Romania: Grup Media Litera
  • Japan: Hayakawa Shobo
  • France: Nathan
  • Czech Republic: Omega/Dobrovsky
  • Spain/Castilian: Planeta

This is part of Leonard and Sedgman’s “Adventures on Trains” series for ages 9 to 12. Harrison Beck travels on iconic trains around the world, each with a new mystery to solve on board.

“For travel lovers, train-enthusiasts, code-breakers and thrill-seekers everywhere,” the books are illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, and each journey is based on an actual train or route, from the historic to the ultra-modern, with international landscapes, settings and characters.

“In this book, Harrison is reluctantly joining his travel-writing Uncle Nat for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things are suddenly a lot more interesting.”

Latitudes of Longing

By Shubhangi Swarup

  • Publisher: 4th Estate / HarperCollins India
  • Rights contact: Maria Cardona, Pontas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spanish: Duomo Ediciones
  • World English (except the Indian subcontinent): Penguin Random House/One World  (released May 19)
  • English/UK: Quercus/Riverrun (released May 19)
  • Bulgarian: Colibri
  • China (complex Chinese): Rye Field Publications
  • Dutch: Hollands Diep
  • French: Éditions Métailié
  • Italian: Ponte alle Grazie
  • Norwegian: Gursli Berg Forlag
  • Russian: Phantom Press
  • Spanish: Duomo
  • Swedish: Modernista/Louise Bäckelin
  • Turkish: April Publishing House

Shubhangi Swarup’s debut “follows the interconnected lives of characters searching for true intimacy. The narrative sweeps across India—from an island to a valley, a city, and a snow desert—to tell a love story of epic proportions.

“We follow a scientist who studies trees and a clairvoyant who speaks to them; a geologist working to end futile wars over a glacier; octogenarian lovers; a mother struggling to free her revolutionary son; a yeti who seeks human companionship; a turtle that experiences miraculous transformations; and the ghost of an evaporated ocean as restless as the continents.

“Binding them all together is a vision of life.”

The Girl Book: Nina and Ellen’s Guide to Puberty

By Nina Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl
Illustrated by Magnhild Winsnes

  • Publisher: Aschehoug Forlag, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Evy Tillman, Oslo Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – China (simplified Chinese: Post Wave Publishing Consulting (in a five-way auction)
  • Portuguese/Brazil: Compahnia das Letras
  • Danish: Straarup & Co.
  • Dutch: Uitgeverij Luitingh-Sijthoff
  • Estonian: Varrak
  • French: Actes Sud
  • German: Dressler Verlag
  • Italian: Sonzogno di Marsilio Editori
  • Korean: Yellow Pig
  • Latvian: Zvaigzne
  • Polish: Wydawnictwo Czarna Owca
  • Russian: Eksmo
  • Swedish: Lilla Piratförlaget
  • Ukrainian: Book Chef

“From the authors behind the international success The Wonder Down Under,  sold to 36 territories. Doctors Nina Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl say young girls shouldn’t have to resort to Googling to find answers to the most important questions about their bodies.

“They decided to write the book they’d like to have had when they were in their teens. Brochmann and Dahl give their advice, tips, and secrets to girls who are about to enter into puberty.

“The transition from child to adolescent isn’t easy. The body is changing, hormones take control, and the brain undergoes a kind of reorganizing. Adults know all about this, but for someone right in the midst of it all, it’s not so easy to understand what’s going on. And because some girls enter into puberty early and others late, this book is suited for girls from 10 to 20 years of age.”

Sunken City
(Città sommersa)

By Marta Barone

  • Publisher: Bompiani, Milan, January 2020
  • Rights contact:Manuela Melato, Bompiani-Giunti Editore
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Greece: Editions Kelefthos
  • Croatia: Sandorf
  • France: Grasset
  • Germany: Kiepenheuer & Witsch
  • The Netherlands: Ambo-Anthos
  • Spain: Literatura Random House

In this novel—longlisted for the Premio Strega—”a young woman, lonely and in love with literature, writes the story of her fight with her father’s death: the two had shared a happy relationship during her childhood, a hard one during her teenage years.

“Now the man is dead and many questions lie unanswered. Who was the young doctor who always had someone to save? Who was sentenced to jail for taking part in an armed band?

“And why did he never want to tell his daughter about those years?”

Mouse King: Femicide

By Pascal Engman

  • Publisher: Bookmark Forlag, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Joakim Hansson and Steve White, Nordin Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Romania: Crime Scene Press
  • Croatia: Indigo Knjiga
  • Czech: Dobrovsky
  • Denmark: People’s Press
  • Finland: WSOY
  • Germany: Klett Cotta
  • Italy: Adriano Salani Editore
  • Lithuania: Baltos Trader
  • Norway: Gyldendal
  • Poland: Wydawnictwo Amber
  • Slovakia: Ikar
  • Spain: Roca Editorial

“When 25-year-old Emelie is found murdered in her apartment, the prime suspect gives Detective Vanessa Frank the impression that the attack could be linked to the rising digital network of so-called ‘incels.’

“These ‘involuntary celibates’ live in the darkest corners of the Internet and are united in their violent misogyny.

Femicide is the second Det. Vanessa Frank book. The hard-boiled narrative unravels in a progression of action, emotion, and tension.”

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

Titles we choose to list have both cover images and author images available. In supplying them to us, please don’t use WeTransfer or other similar links–they may expire before we can process a submission.

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 the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

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.