Rights Roundup: Summer Dreams in November

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

With a couple of plots touching on themes of summer, our entries here are from Italy, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Authors and illustrators represented in today’s Rights Roundup include, top row from left, Ji-hyun Kim; Gulraiz Sharif; Bergsveinn Birgisson; and Zsuzsi Gartner. Lower row, from left, are Tove Alsterdal; Julia Donaldson; Sara Ogilvie; and Fabian Negrin.

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

Rights Sales and Opportunities
As you may remember, during the first rounds of springtime lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain jumps in business were reported in some markets of the world in sales of travel books. Coronavirus-confined consumers were cheering themselves up with dreams of travel, plotting out itineraries for their vaccinated future.

We start today with a couple of titles that might similarly find some traction among vacation-bereft readers whose wanderlust has been stalled out once again by new important efforts in the contagion’s mitigation and containment.

Today’s group of titles has work for children and adults, for lovers of police procedurals and literary work, even a religiously tinged thriller and a fond look back at the big fairy tales of world culture.

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.

Last Summer

By Ji-hyun Kim

  • Publisher: Woongjin Thingbig, Paju, South Korea
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, SB Rights Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Germany: Verlag Freies Geistesleben & Urachhaus GmbH
  • World English excluding Australia & New Zealand: Floris Books
  • Netherlands: Christofoor Uitgeverij
  • Japan: Mitsumura Educational Co. Ltd

“A boy goes on a summer trip with his family and leaves the city life behind.

“While he takes a walk with his dog, he absorbs the energy from nature around him and the day remains as an unforgettable memory.

“Sometimes we’re so busy that we just pass by many precious moments, hence the importance of looking around ourselves to remind us of the value of happiness and the importance of simple things.”

Listen Up
(Hør Her’A)

By Gulraiz Sharif

  • Publisher: Cappelen Damm, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Marius Hjeldnes, Cappelen Damm Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Germany: Arctis Verlag
  • Denmark: Gyldendal DK

“It’s the summer holidays and 15-year-old Mahmoud pictures long days on the bench outside his block of flats. Norwegians go off on their summer holidays, but what do penniless foreigners do?

“All the same, though, this summer will be different because the family has a visit from Uncle Ji from Pakistan, and Mahmoud is given the job of showing his uncle around Oslo.

“Listen Up is a firework of a novel. It captures a community of minorities in a truly original and distinctive voice.”

Vitality Brook

By Bergsveinn Birgisson

  • Publisher: Bjartur, Reykjavik
  • Rights contact: Trude Kolaas, Immaterial Agents
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Screen rights: True North
  • Italy: Iperborea
  • Hungary: Corvina
  • Norway: Vigmostad & Bjørke
  • Germany: Residenz Verlag
  • Israel: Lesa Press

Publishing Perspectives readers might remember that the Milan-based Immaterial Agents group submitted Icelandic author Bergsveinn Birgisson’s Reply to a Letter from Helga for our September 11 Rights Roundup. Birgisson has a doctorate in Norse philology and is based in Bergen, Norway. His work relates to folklore, oral histories, and lyrical poetry.

In the case of Vitality Brook, a full English translation is available.

The book was shortlisted for the Icelandic Literary Award las year and this year has been shortlisted for the Nordic Council Literary Prize.

Based in “the struggle of a poor nation for the right to its own perspective and views of life,” the book “plays out in the borderland between two worlds: the realism and scientism of the 18th century stand opposed to the forces of nature and mysticism. It is hard not to see the work’s reference to modern times, where dangerous dogmatic interests threaten human and emotional intelligence.

“In his unique style, Birgisson invites the reader on a journey back through the centuries with the Enlightenment figure Markús Árelíus. The harsh and barren 18th-century Iceland, afflicted by enormous natural disasters, provides an unforgettable backdrop which is conveyed by the author with great sensitivity. Markús Árelíus is sent to windswept Iceland to prepare a report for his superiors in the Danish government, who are considering relocating all useful labor to Denmark and Norway.

“Equipped with measuring instruments and the passionate consciousness of the Enlightenment, Markús Árelíus travels north to Strandir, where nature refuses to obey his laws and puts his measuring instruments to a hard test.”

The Beguiling

By Zsuzsi Gartner

  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada / Hamish Hamilton, Toronto
  • Rights contact: Meg Wheeler, Westwood Creative Artists
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • North America, English: Hamish Hamilton

“This Writers’ Trust Award finalist tells the story of a lapsed Catholic whose adolescent pretensions to sainthood are unexpectedly revived.

“When Zoltán, in the hospital following a bizarre incident at a party, offers Lucy a disturbing deathbed confession, her grief takes an unusual turn: Zoltán’s death appears to have transformed Lucy into a ‘flesh-and-blood Wailing Wall.’ As strangers unburden themselves to her, she becomes addicted to their dark stories.”

This is a debut, released in September, but Gartner is known for her Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.


By Tove Alsterdal

  • Publisher: Lind & Co., Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Astri von Arbin Ahlander, Ahlander Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Estonia: Varrak
  • Denmark: Modtryk
  • Finland: Aula & Co.
  • Norway: Gyldendal
  • Russia: Eksmo
  • UK: Faber & Faber
  • USA: HarperCollins

“When police investigator Eira Sjödin is sent to investigate the suspicious death of an elderly man, nightmares from her childhood come flooding back.

“She begins a search for a killer that will lead her back to an old rape and murder case that left a wound in the town’s collective memory and tinged Eira’s own upbringing with fear.

“What she finds will shake the town, and her own family, to the core. A missing girl, a hidden body, a decades-long cover-up, and old sins cast in new light.”

The Hospital Dog

By Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

  • Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, London
  • Rights contact: Cathryn Gregory, Macmillan Children’s Books
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Japanese: BL Japan
  • Russian: Machinyi Tvorenya
  • Dutch: Lemniscaat
  • Castilian and Catalan: Naturart (Art Blume)
  • Croatian: Planet Zoe

“Here is a dog,
“A Dalmatian called Dot.
“Is she quite ordinary?
“No, she’s not.”

“After their breakfast and a swim in the sea, Dot and her owner Rose jump onto the bus to the hospital.

“Dot loves visiting the children of Wallaby Ward and they’re always pleased to see her too; from a crying baby to a bored teenager. A pat, a stroke, and a cuddle with Dot cheers everyone up.

“But the work of the hospital dog doesn’t stop there and when one of her patients is in trouble, it’s up to Dot to save the day.”

Fairy Tale Alphabet
(Alfabetiere delle fiabe)

By Fabian Negrin

  • Publisher: Giunti Editore, Florence
  • Rights contact: Cristina Zangrandi, Giunti Editore
  • Book info: Read more here

No rights sales reported as yet.

Fabian Negrin’s illustrations are always evocative of a deep and dreamlike world.

Artist Fabian Negrin looks at classic fairy tales, illustrating them and retelling them in prose-poetry.

The collection includes stories from many parts of the world, including Aladdin and Little Red Riding Hood, content from Xi Shi in China, Vassilissa the Beautiful, work of Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm, Perrault, and Basile.

Image: From ‘Alfabetiere delle fiabe’

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 must have both cover images and author images available. If there’s an illustrator or translator, we’d like that person’s photo as well. We prefer color.

In supplying these assets 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 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

If we have used a submission from you in the past, please do not submit that same title again to us without an explanation of why you think it deserves another look.

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on international rights trading is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing 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.