Rights Roundup: Predators, Race Drivers, and Oysters

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Titles in our first Rights Roundup of the month come from Spain, Italy, Finland, and the United Kingdom, with work for children, lovers of police procedurals, and a book on a much-loved racer.

Authors and illustrators whose work is included in this Rights Roundup include, top row from left, Milena Busquets; Alex Nogués; Miren Asiain; and Vito Franchini. On the lower row, from left, are Iván de la Nuez; Heikki Kulta; Ben Manley; and Emma Chichester Clark

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

Pontas in Barcelona: A Good Idea in Action
An unusual literary agency story arrived this week, when the Pontas Literary and Film Agency in Barcelona announced its new JJ Bola Emerging Writers Prize, which includes mentoring, some cash, and a contract with the agency for unpublished writers who are of “Black, ethnic-minority, LGBTQ+, and working-class backgrounds.”

As Anna Soler-Pont and Maria Cardona there know, reaching more deeply into the “actual audience” for literature is a key priority for many publishers, and the more agencies can do the same, the better. In fact, it would be good to see a project of this kind lead to more minority presence on agency staffs—another area of the industry that, in many markets, is in deep need of diversity.

Congratulations, then, to Pontas, and we’ll let that shop lead us off in our Rights Roundup this time, with Gema by Milena Busquets.

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.


By Milena Busquets

  • Publisher: Anagrama, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Anna Soler-Pont, Pontas Literary and Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – German : Suhrkamp Verlag
  • Catalan: Amsterdam/Ara Llibres
  • Dutch: Meulenhoff
  • French: Gallimard
  • Italian: Solferino

“The life of a 40-something writer passes without a big shock, between her two children and a relationship that seems about to end.

“But that reasonably placid existence is shaken by the reappearance of a ghost from the past in the form of a sudden memory: Gema.

“Gema was a schoolmate who died of leukemia at age 15, one of the two deaths that marked her childhood; the other was that of her father, but he had lived a lifetime, while Gema left early. What existence would she have had? Who would she have become? When did she last see her? Did she get a chance to say goodbye? Why has time been diluting the memory of the dead friend?”

The book follows the success of Busquets’ This Too Shall Pass.

One Million Oysters at the Top of a Mountain

By Alex Nogués
Illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Simplifed Chinese: China Nationality Culture Press
  • US and Canada: Eerdmans
  • South Korean: Seedbook Publishing
  • World French: Les Éditions des Éléphants
  • Italian: Camelozampa
  • Traditional Chinese: WordField Publishing Ltd.
  • German: Jumbo Medien
  • Japanese: Iwasaki Publishing

“While admiring a landscape, we may see trees or animals, the fading colors at sunset, the appealing shaped clouds.

“But we rarely pay attention to rocks.

“Under this premise, Alex Nogués guides us through the mysteries of geology. And we follow him as we need to find an answer to the question: what are a million oysters doing on the top of a mountain?”

The Predator of Souls
(Il predatore di anime)

By Vito Franchini

      • Publisher: Giunti Editore, Via La Loggia
      • Rights contact: Valentina Mazza, Giunti Editore
      • Book info: Read more here

No reported rights sales yet.

In this book published January 27, “Sabina, a police commissioner in Rome, finds herself juggling her tormented passion for a married man and a case of homicide-suicide between spouses that doesn’t seem to reveal too many surprises. Until the suspicions fall on a man with whom both victims had contact on the day of death: the mysterious Nardo Baggio, Shiatsu operator.

“Deeply struck by this ambiguous and magnetic figure, Sabina will soon discover her real activity: giving support to the victims of stalking, especially those that the institutions are unable to protect.”


By Iván de la Nuez

      • Publisher: Periférica, Madrid
      • Rights contact: Carles Masdeu, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
      • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sale:

      • World English: Seven Stories Press

“Written from the socialist perspective of the Cold War and the neoliberal perspective of subsequent years, Cubantropía is a harsh criticism of both, exploring the connections between Cuban culture and geopolitics in a globalized era.

“From the Berlin Wall to Havana’s Malecón, this book examines recent clashes between the market and democracy, the digital era and post-colonialism, utopia and tourism, the diaspora and the nation, racism and Big Data, Guantánamo and Reggaeton.”

Iceman: Kimi Räikkönen’s Journey

By Heikki Kulta

      • Publisher: Readme.fi, Helsinki
      • Rights contact: Tabatha Leggett, Bonnier Rights
      • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

      • Newest – Russia: Eksmo
      • Estonia: Ajakirjad
      • Hungary: Scolar
      • Poland: SQN

You may be familiar with The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen. This is another entry on the famous racer, by a journalist considered to be in the lead among those covering the sport.

“Having attended 371 Grand Prix races, Heikki Kulta has a longer racing career than Räikkönen himself. He’s followed the racing star from Räikkönen joining Formula One in 2000 to his Grand Prix and World Championship wins, through to the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on Formula One racing.

“Drawing on decades worth of interviews—recorded on cassette tapes and in notebooks—Kulta tells Räikkönen’s story from a truly unique perspective.”

Constance in Peril

By Ben Manley
Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

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

Reported rights sales:

      • Newest – French: Albin Michel
      • Turkish: Kultur

Constance in Peril is a brilliantly funny story told with atmospheric illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark.

“Edward’s favorite toy was a soft, old, cloth doll. Her name was Constance Hardpenny and she had led a tragic life.

“Having been rescued from a rubbish bin, Constance suffers a series of catastrophic incidents. From being left out in the rain or up a tree, Constance is constantly finding herself in danger.”

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:

      • France: Gallimard
      • World English: Faber & Faber

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.