Rights Roundup: True Crime and Superpowers

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Work from Finland, Germany, Spain, Israel, Switzerland, and the Netherlands includes children’s books, adult fiction and a work of art history that also ranks as true crime.

Authors represented in today’s Rights Roundup are, top row from left, Juhani Karila; Susanna Isern; Rocio Bonilla; Sofie Cramer (image: Clementine Photography). On the second row, from left, Shoham Smith and Einat Tsarfati; Heinz Janisch; Maja Kastelic; and Arthur Brand

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

Staying Home for the Holidays
As the holidays crowd in with the late-afternoon darkness, we’re being told in many parts of the world by public health experts that this is not the year to travel for the holidays. Vaccines on the horizon make that easier to take, of course.

And if there’s a good element to these pandemic-era constraints—by which the world is so exhausted—it’s that there may be more time to read during the break this year.

Marleen Seegers

The agents and rights directors offering today’s titles would be most happy to think of you grabbing a sample or an original-language copy and getting into one of the books they present her.

Another sign of the holidays: a few more children’s books are in the pipeline. We have those, as well as some adult fiction.

And there’s also a work of art investigation, Arthur Brand’s Hitler’s Horses, brought to us by 2 Seas’ Marleen Seegers. True crime in the high places of the art-history world. Bronze, too. Have a look.

We’ll be back once more before the holidays with another Rights Roundup, as part of our Rights Edition on December 16. So those of you who like to offer titles for our consideration, if you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.

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.

Fishing for the Little Pike

By Juhani Karila

  • Publisher: Siltala Publishing, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Urte Liepuoniute, Helsinki Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Estonia: Hea Lugu
  • Denmark: Jensen & Dalgaard
  • World French: La Peuplade
  • Germany: Homunculus
  • Hungary: Metropolis Media
  • Poland: Marpress

In this 2019 work of literary fiction is said to feature “mysterious creatures who wander the tundra bogs like machines set in motion long ago that nobody knows how to turn off.

“An ancient demon finds a new home in the mayor. A farmhand who refuses to die starts sprouting branches and oozing menace. And in a little pond in the middle of the swamp lives the fish that everything depends on.

“Elina has returned to her home village in Eastern Lapland, as she does every year. She has three days to catch a pike. When a water sprite emerges from the pond and other ancient creatures soon join the game, Elina’s fishing trip turns into a life-or-death adventure.”

Juhani Karila is a journalist whose Fishing for the Little Pike is a first novel. It has won the Kalevi Jäntti Prize and Tähtifantasia Prize, and was nominated for the Jarkko Laine Prize.

The Great Book of Superpowers
(El gran libro de los superpoderes)

By Susanna Isern
Illustrated by Rocio Bonilla

  • Publisher: Editorial Flamboyant, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Marina Huguet, Editorial Flamboyant, S.L.
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Korean: WooriSchool Co.
  • Italian: Il Castello
  • French: Père Fouettard
  • Simplified Chinese: CNPIC Digital Printing
  • Slovene: Drustvo Mohorjeva Druzba
  • Ukrainian: Kalamar
  • German: Jumbo Medien
  • Polish: Grupa Wydawnicza Relacja – Mamania
  • English, North America including Canada: 1517 Media – Beaming Books
  • Portuguese, Portugal: Bizancio
  • Danish: Bilgrav Publishing ApS – Albert Forlag
  • Romanian: Grupul Editorial ART SRL
  • Russian: MANN, IVANOV and FERBER
  • Slovak: IKAR, as Euromedia Group
  • Turkish: Günışığı Kitaplığı Yayıncılık AŞ
  • Traditional Chinese: Acme Publishing Co., Ltd.

“Everyone is different, so why should everyone have the same talents? All of us have a talent that makes us special and unique.

“Some people are good at mathematics while others excel at cooking. Some are adventurous while others prefer to read.

“Discover what makes you different from others, neither better nor worse.”

Marina Huguet notes that a second title, The Great Book of Super Treasures” is available and has sold into 10 languages.

Text for You: A Novel

By Sofie  Cramer

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: Sperling & Kupfer
  • Korea: Next Wave Media
  • Lithuania: Alma Littera
  • Poland: Otwarte
  • Spain: Planeta

“Just weeks after they got engaged, Clara’s fiancé Ben tragically dies, leaving her behind, hopeless, and distraught.

“To console herself, she sends her dearly departed a text message every day. But eventually, Ben’s number is re-assigned, and Clara’s messages end up with journalist Sven, who decides to investigate the story behind the mysterious sender.”

Sofie Cramer, a pen name, has studied German language, literature, and political science in Bonn and Hanover.

Who Invented School, Anyway?

By Shoham Smith
Illustrated by Einat Tsarfati

  • Publisher: Kinneret, Zmora, Dvir, Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, SB Rights Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – China: (Simplified Chinese): United Sky
  • South Korea: Midnight Bookstore
  • Taiwan (Complex Chinese): Walkers Culture

“If you already go to school, you may have asked yourself this question by now. If, for some reason you haven’t–maybe because you were too busy doing your homework–now is the time.

“This is a book for children (and adults) who ask themselves questions like Who invented school? What did schools look like in the past? Do all schools in the world look the same? Is going to school a requirement or a privilege? Can you learn anywhere else besides in school?”

Hans Christian Andersen:
The Journey of His Life
(Die Reise seines Lebens) 

By Heinz Janisch
Illustrated by Maja Kastelic

  • Publisher: NordSüd Verlag AG, Zurich
  • Rights contact: Louise Münzer, NordSüd Verlag
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – China: (Simplified Chinese): Beijing Green Bean Books
  • Armenia: Zangak Publishing
  • Taiwan: (Complex Chinese): WordField Publishing Ltd.
  • Italy: Arka Edizioni
  • Japan: Nishimura Publishers Co.
  • Iran: Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature
  • Mongolia: In negotiation

“’If you like, I’ll tell you the story of a boy who learned to fly.’

“Through an enchanted conversation with a young girl in a horse-drawn coach, Hans Christian Andersen shares his life’s struggles, dreams, and triumphs—whose threads can be found woven into his greatest stories.

“He tells her about the ‘fairy tale of his life’ and how the son of a shoemaker became a celebrated writer.”

Hitler’s Horses

By Arthur Brand

  • Publisher: Boekerij, Amsterdam
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Greece: Brainfood
  • Japan: Chikumashobo
  • France: Dunod
  • English (United Kingdom, British Commonwealth excluding Canada): Ebury
  • Hungary: Europa
  • World Spanish (excluding Spain): Planeta
  • Mexico, South Korea: Tamgudang
  • Czech Republic: CPress/Albatros
  • Romania: Prestige

“During a visit to his former teacher, art detective Arthur Brand comes across a photograph of Hitler’s horses, two-meter high bronzes that Hitler once ordered be placed in front of the Reich Chancellery.

“It appears they are being sold on the black market. Brand is puzzled: Weren’t those statues destroyed in the Battle of Berlin?

“The ones on sale must be fakes.”

Arthur Brand is considered by many to be the Netherlands’ foremost art investigator. As you may recall, some of his findings made international news, including Hitler’s horses, a Dali painting, a Picasso painting, a stolen ring that had belonged to Oscar Wilde and five paintings from the Westfries Museum. The total value of the cases solved by Brand are estimated at more that €220 million (US$267.2 million).

German television rights have been sold.

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.