Rights Roundup: Cycles of Oppression and Courage

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The work in this Rights Roundup comes from Norway, Finland, France, and from Spain by way of an Italian tale of bravery.

Authors and illustrators with work represented in our Rights Roundup are, upper row from left, Marta Breen (image: Åsmund Holien Mo); Jenny Jordahl (image: Vidar Schiefloe); Marion Chaygneaud-Dupuy; and Randi Fuglehaug. On the lower row from left, Anne Gunn Halvorsen; Anja Portin; Miila Westin; and Kike Ibáñez

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

‘Certain Medals Hang on the Soul’
As we watch with mounting distress the Afghanistan calamity, it’s helpful that one of our Rights Roundup entries today is a timely work of nonfiction for adults, although some publishers are seeing it as a book both for adults and for young readers. It’s the story of Gino Bartali, as told by author and illustrator Kike Ibáñez.

Bartali was an Italian cyclist (1914-2000), celebrated as a two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia—1936 and 1937—and of the Tour de France in 1938. He also was a courier of forged ID documents and photos for the Italian Resistance. Wearing his victor’s jersey, he’d ride through Umbria, Le Marche, and Tuscany on what looked like normal training runs, moving the needed paperwork at serious danger to himself.

At least once, he’s said to have been arrested and questioned. He’s also said to have led Jewish refugees toward the Swiss Alps for the Assisi Network, and to have hidden Jews in his home. Peter Crutchley wrote about Bartali for the BBC in 2014.

Bartali is honored by Yad Vasham as “Righteous Among the Nations,” a profound recognition of non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Road to Valor: A True Story of World War II Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation by Aili and Andres McConnon (paperback, Penguin Random House, 2013) has the backstory if you’re interested in knowing more. It’s narrated for Tantor Audio by Stephen Hoye in its audiobook edition.

And it gives us hope, as we watch such deepening misery in Kabul and across Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, to remember Bartali’s grace. He reportedly never bragged about helping to evacuate Jews from harm’s way. “The good is done, but it’s not said,” he’s reported to have remarked. “And certain medals hang on the soul, not on the jacket.”

Stephanie Barrouillet

The submission of Ibáñez’ Gino Bartali’s Secret (Bang Ediciones in Barcelona) comes from literary agent Stephanie Barrouillet at S.B. Rights Agency. As we’ve been asking agents, scouts and rights directors tell us what their Frankfurt plans are, we’ve asked Barrouillet about hers.

“I’ll be attending Frankfurter Buchmesse,” she says, “if the situation allows it. I’ve confirmed my stand and hope to finally be reconnected in person with international colleagues.

“Given the global situation, I’ll be organizing two book fairs this year, one digital–as a lot of publishers will not be able to attend–and one in person. This is a model that might remain in the future, which will allow us to meet with publishers from far away who cannot attend.”

We’ve been asked by several in the rights trade who else is planning to be at Frankfurt (October 20 to 24). The trade show’s exhibitor directory is updating now, and can be a good place to start in learning who’s planning to be there.

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.

The Fall of the Patriarchy: The History of Sexism and the Resistance of Women

By Marta Breen
Illustrated by Jenny Jordahl

  • Publisher: Cappelen Damm, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Ingvild Haugland Blatt, Cappelen Damm Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spain: RBA Libros
  • Sweden: Natur & Kultur
  • Serbia: Cigoja Stampa
  • Greece: Papadopoulos Publishing

A follow-up to Breen and Jordahl’s 2018 Women in Battle: 150 Years of Freedom, Equality, and Sisterhood, this new graphic treatment pursues the theme, according to promotional copy, as “a joyride through the cultural history of the patriarchy.

“With a good dose of humor they tell the stories about how men from Aristotle to Woody Allen have described the world through the ‘male gaze.’ They tell the stories of the women who through history have fought that oppression, and they rank the world’s worst sexists through time.”

And, needless to say, with concern mounting for the girls and women of Afghanistan, an all-too-familiar terrorist patriarchy is on the minds of many, making this book’s release sadly even more timely than it might have been.

A detail from ‘The Fall of the Patriarchy’ by Marta Breen with illustrations by Jenny Jordahl

Radio Popov

By Anja Portin
Illustrated by Miila Westin

  • Publisher: Schildts & Söderström, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Urte, Helsinki Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – China (Simplified Chinese): New Buds
  • Bulgaria: Perseus
  • Catalan: Nórdica Libros
  • Czech: Portal
  • Denmark: Straarup & Company
    Estonia: Ühinenud ajakirjad
  • France: Milan
  • Greece: Psichogios
  • Hungary: Cerkabella
  • Italy: Salani
  • Latvia: Janis Roze Publishers
  • Lithuania: Alma Littera
  • The Netherlands: Ploegsma
  • Poland: Widnokrąg
  • Russia: Samokat
  • Slovenia: KUD Sodobnost International
  • Spanish: Nórdica Libros

Radio Popov is the winner of the Finlandia Junior Prize for children’s books. The book targets middle-grade readers with the adventures of 9-year-old Alfred.

“After befriending eccentric Amanda who is one of the Sharp Ears, an organization that hears the sighs of lonely children, Alfred finds an old radio transmitter at her home and starts making a secret, nightly radio broadcast that all the other forgotten children in the city listen to.”

Breathe, You’re Alive: From Lhasa to Mount Everest, an Ecological and Spiritual Adventure

By Marion Chaygneaud-Dupuy

  • Publisher: Massot Éditions, Paris
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Italy: Monte Rosa Edizioni

“Nobody else believed in her, but Marion Chaygneaud-Dupuy achieved the impossible. Initiated by Tibetan Buddhist masters, she spent weeks as a solitary retreatant in caves, exploring her consciousness at an age when others are starting university.

“At age 20, she settled in Tibet, became a mountain guide, and explored non-separation between human beings and nature. As untamed as a panther at first, her heart gradually opened through contact with other mountain guides and the nomads of the high plateaus. In this book, she bears emotional witness to their efforts to perpetuate their own traditions while coping with a forced march towards modern life.

“She explains with enthusiasm how she launched the “Clean Everest” operation to protect Himalayan glaciers, which are currently threatened by global warming. In three years, her operation brought ten tons of waste down from the slopes of Everest. Now, at age 40, she is planning to come back to Europe.”

(YA series)

By Randi Fuglehaug and Anne Gunn Halvorsen

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World French: Hachette Romans (four books in a pre-empt)
  • Polish: Jaguar, Bonnier Poland (four books in a pre-empt)
  • Russia: AST (two books)
  • World Spanish and Catalan: Destino Planeta (one book)
  • Italian: offer pending
  • Bulgarian: Perseus
  • Danish: Gyldendal (three books)
  • Film rights; Netflix

These are the first three books in the Royalteen YA series, and three more titles are planned for publication in 2022 and 2023.

The first book, The Heir, is a modern Cinderella-story about a prince named Karl Johan (called Kalle) and Lena, a secret teen mom. The 14-month-old child is her son, not her brother.

The logline: “He has to carry a nation on his shoulders, she carries lies on hers.” More such lines include, “Real princesses kiss many frogs to find a prince.” There is an actual princess on the scene, Johan’s sister, the princess Margarethe. They all go to Oslo’s Elisenberg High School.

The film Royalteen, with Fuglehaug and Halvorsen participating in the adaptation with Ester Marie Grenersen, is listed for a 2022 release.

Per-Olav Sørensen and Emily Beck are attached as directors. Global Ensemble Drama is handling production for Netflix distribution.

Gino Bartali’s Secret
(El secreto de Gino Bartali)

By Kike Ibáñez

  • Publisher: Bang Ediciones, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, S.B. Rights Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

No rights sales reported to date.

“This is the story of Gino Bartali, a Tuscan who won his first Giro d’Italia in 1936 at age 22.

“He had a promising future but Benito Mussolini used sport as propaganda in favor of the regime. With World War II, all sports competitions ended, but Bartali kept on training and his mission was to cycle from Firenze to Assisi, where the safe-passage papers were printed.

“Bartali hid the documents in his bicycle and managed to save almost 800 lives, most of them children.”

Submitting 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

Getting images to us. Please don’t send us images by Google Drive if the system will require us to ask your permission to retrieve those images. (It can take too long for our deadlines before that permission request reaches you.) Likewise, please don’t send us images by WeTransfer or a similar service. (Those expire, often before we can download your material.) If for some reason you cannot get images into our submission form, feel free to just drop them to us in an email (Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com) or in a Dropbox folder (non-expiring access) and send us a link to that folder in the submission form.

Categories. We get more submissions in children’s books than in others, and while we enjoy children’s books in the industry as much as anyone–please do keep sending them–we’d also like to see more of the following to help us balance our roundups:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Nonfiction – particularly narrative nonfiction, political, historical, biographical, memoir, and philosophical categories
  • Young Adult

Repeat submissions. We receive great submissions from many parts of the world and once we’ve carried a title, we’d like to give other work a chance to be featured rather than repeating that title–unless there’s major news developing around that previously used title that makes it a good candidate for a second listing. If one of your titles has previously appeared in our Rights Roundups but there’s a good reason you think it should be listed again, please be sure to drop us an email and let us know (Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com).

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 is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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 (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.