Rights Roundup: A Festive Weekend in Finland

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

From Switzerland, the United States, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, today’s titles include work for adults and children.

Authors and illustrators represented in this Rights Roundup are, upper row from left, Benedict Wells (image: Roger Eberard); Barbara Davis; Ezgi Berk; and Rukiye Ulusan. On the lower row, from left are Michael Morpurgo; Emily Gravett; Annalisa Menin; and Anki Edvinsson

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

Hei from Helsinki
An unusual case of fast rights sales is underway in Helsinki, agent Elina Ahlback tells us this week, where Cargo and its sequel Swing have sold into at least eight territories in two weeks, and before publication. For the Ahlback Agency, this is a record.

Aki and Milla Ollikainen, writing together in the noir darkness as AM Olliainen

Cargo (Kontti) comes out in May from Otava and it’s by “A.M. Ollikainen,” a joint pseudonym for Aki and Milla Ollikainen. Ahlback understandably calls them “a Nordic noir supercouple,” and from the darkness of their photo, it looks as if Aki and Milla are taking their roles seriously.

At this point, the rights-action list for this two-book noir-fest—in addition to the Otava deal in Finland—looks like this:

  • Czech Republic: Host
  • Estonia: Varrak
  • Germany: Bastei Lubbe
  • Hungary: Animus
  • Lithuania: Baltos ankos
  • The Netherlands: HarperCollins
  • Norway: Aschehoug
  • Slovenia: Didakta

An offer is also on the table in Poland, interest in the United Kingdom, Ahlback says is “increasing,” and four production companies are reading the books for possible film and/or television adaptation.

Ahlback says the attraction seems to be a notably literary level of writing combined with “a unique and excellent thriller plot line.” Honestly, if anyone can still come up with a unique thriller plot line, our hats are immediately off to them, particularly in the North. It’s amazing that everybody there hasn’t yet been either murdered or made a police detective.

And from another address in Helsinki, agent Urtė Liepuoniūtė at the Helsinki Literary Agency has let us know that Juhani Karila’s Fishing for the Little Pike today (March 19) has won the biennial €3,000 (US$3,571) Lapland Literature Prize, arguably the most significant honor yet in a string of awards the book has attracted.

Karila, you may recall, is the Finnish author whose book is something of a dark horse (or reindeer) and who seems to be able to capture every award he gets close to, including the Jarkko Laine Literature Prize, Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize and Tähtifantasia Prize, and was nominated for the Tolkien Society in Finland Literary Prize.

What’s more, he’s recently been named journalist of the year in the periodicals classification in a competition in which he presumably works in nonfiction. Little Pike, definitely fiction, now has sold into six languages including German and World French.

Ands 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.


Hard Land

By Benedict Wells

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Hungary: Geopen
  • France: Slatkine
  • The Netherlands: Meulenhoff
  • Norway: Forlaget Press
  • Portugal: ASA

“Missouri, 1985: In an attempt to escape a troubled home life, 15-year-old Sam takes a holiday job in an old cinema.

“And for the duration of one magical summer, everything is turned on its head. He finds friends, falls in love and discovers the secrets of his hometown. For the first time ever, he’s no longer an unremarkable outsider. Until something happens that forces him to grow up.”

Wells is the German-Swiss author of The End of Loneliness, the first of his books to be translated into English, and there’s more about his work from Tobias Gray at The New York Times in a 2019 interview here. The End of Loneliness was his fourth novel and won a European Union Prize for Literature.


I Love Yoga

By Ezgi Berk
Illustrated by Rukiye Ulusan

  • Publisher: ABM Publishing, Istanbul
  • Rights contact: The Black Cat Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spanish (Latin America): Penguin Random House Mexico
  • World Arabic: Dar Al Maaref, Lebanon
  • World Estonian: Ajakirjad
  • World Ukrainian: Old Lion Publishing

This is a title that agent Goksun Bayraktar says reveals “the joy of yoga with practical tips.”

“Can you roar like a lion? Stand tall like a mountain?”

The book is written by a certified children’s yoga instructor, and contains 14 poses for kids.

“Starting with simple poses and building to more difficult ones, this book will allow young readers to develop a routine that they can practice daily, creating a habit for the rest of their lives.”


The Last of the Moon Girls

By Barbara Davis

  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing/Lake Union, New York
  • Rights contact: Hatty Stiles, Amazon Publishing
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Macedonian: Ars Lamina
  • Estonian: Ersen
  • Slovak: Aurora
  • Polish: Swiat Ksiazki
  • Russian: Eksmo (at auction)

“A novel of secrets, memory, family, and forgiveness.

“Lizzy Moon never wanted Moon Girl Farm. Eight years ago, she left the land that nine generations of gifted healers had tended, determined to distance herself from the whispers about her family’s strange legacy. But when her beloved grandmother Althea dies, Lizzy must return and face the tragedy still hanging over the farm: the unsolved murders of two young girls, and the cruel accusations that followed Althea to her grave.”


A Song of Gladness

By Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by Emily Gravett

  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan, London
  • Rights contact: Marianne Fournier, Pan Macmillan
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Simplified Chinese: 21 Century Publishing
  • Danish: Turbine
  • French: Kaleidoscope
  • Italian: Mondadori
  • Turkish: Beta Publishing

“Travel the world in this journey through the animal kingdom, a book that encourages children to value the natural world and their place in it.

“From two of today’s most celebrated children’s book creators, Michael Morpurgo and Emily Gravett.”

A detail from illustator Emily Gravett’s work in ‘A Song of Gladness.’ Image: Pan Macmillan


Hearts in Transit

By Annalisa Menin

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

No rights sales as yet: Book publishes in Italy on March 24.

“Anna Venier is 33. She has her whole life in front of her and tragedy is behind her. She lost her husband three years ago.

“Anna is ready for a new relationship. She’s ready to be ‘in transit,’ to move emotionally, to travel and discover life.

“But what can she do when she has already lived a perfect love? Best friend Alessandra suggests a ‘transit partner,’ a friend whose heart also needs to be in motion. Life is full of surprises, and Anna is ready to capture them.”


Snow Angel

By Anki Edvinsson

  • Publisher: Norstedts, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Jenni Brunn at the Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest (updated) – Denmark: People’s Press
  • Norway: Kagge
  • Finland: WSOY

Those reliably murderous Nordics, of course, have another police procedural ready for us today.

“A boy jumps off a bridge. A woman is found murdered in her home. A teenage girl disappears without a trace. Three tragic incidents seemingly without any connections.

“But Charlotte von Klint and Per Berg at the Umeå police start connecting the pieces. The common denominator is narcotics.

“The police officers Charlotte von Klint and Per Berg are in many ways each other’s opposites, but together they make an unstoppable team.”


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 2019 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 also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.