Rights Roundup: Starting the Frankfurt Roll Call

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

As we ask literary agents, rights directors, and scouts about their Frankfurt plans, our rights sale news comes from Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, and the United States.

Authors and illustrators represented in this edition of Rights Roundup are, upper row from left, Gabrielle Filteau-Chiba; Stefanie vor Schulte; Tracey Turner; and Asa Gilland. On the lower row, from left, are Nina Burton; Lone Theils; Emilia Lahti; and Bridget Collins (image: Symon Hamer)

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

Yes, the Kalem Agency Will Be at Frankfurt
As a preface to this edition of our Rights Roundup series, we’ve begun asking rights directors and literary agents who work in international rights to let us know their perspective on attending Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 20 to 24).

These initial comments provide an interesting look at the moment—simultaneously far enough out from the world’s largest trade show to weight the evolving coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic situation but also reflective of how eager many of our respondents say they are to be in Frankfurt.

From several folks we’re in touch with in various territories, we’re hearing, “We’ll make our decision in September.” So it appears we can expect quite a number of decisive answers at that point.

Maria Cardona

“For now, the Pontas Agency will be there,” says Maria Cardona in Barcelona. “Anna Soler-Pont and myself, we’ll be there from Tuesday until Friday.

“We have flights, hotel, and two tables in the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre,” which this year is set in the entirely refurbished Hall 6. The fair reports that more than 100 table registrations have been made.

Cardona mentions something we hear from many of her colleagues: “I’m also trying to collect a list of publishing houses, editors, and scouts who will be attending.” With that in mind, we’d like to invite our readers to drop us a note (Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com) and let us know whether you’ll be attending. We’re happy to pass the word along, as we wait for an official listing to come from the team in Frankfurt.

Bénédicte Bernier

Also on hand will be Bénédicte Bernier of Agence Ouroboros. “I’ll be there with the French publishing house Plume Blanche,” she writes, and happy to meet there.”

As for Helsinki’s Ahlback Literary Agency, Elina Ahlback tells us, “We’ve decided not to attend the physical Frankfurt Book Fair this year. Digital meetings have started this first week of August, and on July 30, we launched our digital fall catalogue.”

Ahlback says that she and her associates have opened “Authors August” in association with Finland’s ministry of education and culture and the Kintsugi Agency. That program is presenting five videos on authors, the first of them being Laura Lindstedt. Her video was activated on Wednesday (August 4).

But “We are all missing Frankfurt so much,” Ahlback adds, noting that she’s making her decision, as is everyone, on the basis of safety.

Maÿlis Vauterin

Rights director Maÿlis Vauterin (you’ll see information below about a trilogy by Gabrielle Filteau-Chiba) says, “One person from Éditions Stock will attend Frankfurt Book Fair in person. Another will take charge of our digital meetings.

“Whether clients decide to attend or not, we look forward to meeting them and introducing them to our titles.”

You can see Stock’s fiction rights list here and nonfiction here.

LeeAnn Bortolussi at Giunti Editore says, “Yes, I’ll be there. My team will stay in Milano, but I’ve taken a table at a workstation in our hall (4.1), the workstations being a new offering this year at Frankfurt, “and I’ll meet some of our German publishers at the very least.”

Bortolussi adds that it’s a matter of keeping an eye on the B.1.617.2 “delta” variant, of course, and that’s the case in most markets of the world at the moment, as vaccination programs strengthen.

Monika Regulska at Poland’s Syndykat Autorów Literary Agency says she won’t be able to make it, as does Rebecca Mancini (RightsMix). Mancini, as it happens, says that she’ll “definitely reconsider” if the situation looks a bit better for her to make the trip.

Magalie Delobelle

Magalie Delobelle of the So Far So Good Agency, meanwhile, says she’ll be there, adding “and I am really looking forward to this new FBM edition.”

And all of us who are Frankfurt-bound are glad to know that Buchmesse can go on: “We Kalem women will go to Frankfurt,” Nazlıcan Kabataş tells us from Istanbul where the whole Kalem Agency team—led by the intrepid Nermin Mollaoğlu—is working on the creation of “Kalem House,” a new facility they’re refurbishing.

“We are all vaccinated,” the team tells us, and all five team members are making the trip.

“We are so excited to see you again” in the physical setting, the team says, and if you can’t be there, yourself, they’ll set up a digital meeting with you.

Kalem Agency team members heading for Frankfurter Buchmesse in October are, from left, Kardelen Genc, Burcu Unsal, Nermin Mollaoğlu, Nazlıcan Kabataş, and Merve Diler. Image: Kalem Agency

And now to our Rights Roundup.

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 Gabrielle Filteau-Chiba

  • Publisher: Éditions Stock, Paris (spring 2022)
  • Rights contact: Maÿlis Vauterin
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spain/World Spanish excluding Argentina and Chile: Minúscula Editorial
  • Italy: Lindau
  • Germany: DTV in a five-figure deal
  • The Netherlands: Prometheus in a five-figure deal at auction
  • United Kingdom: Christopher MacLehose’s Mountain Leopard Press

With its rights sales expanding into World Spanish (excluding Argentina and Chile) since we were last notified of this title, Gabrielle Filteau-Chiba’s trilogy is showing traction. The rights for the second volume, Encabanés, are being handled by the 2 Seas Agency. The rights for the title volume and third installment, Sauvagines and Bivouac, are being handled by Éditions Stock.

“Unfolding over three weeks in late September, Scavengers plunges us into a shadowy world of illegal poaching and sexual violence, as Raphaëlle’s calling to protect the laws of the forest sees her become the hunter’s prey. Yet two can play at that game, and this gritty eco-warrior won’t go down without a fight.

“A revenge feminist tale, as well as a compelling love story, Scavengers will appeal as much to the nature writing readers of The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti’s as to readers of strong female novelists such as Virginie Despentes or Aminatta Forma.”

Boy With a Black Rooster
(Junge mit schwarzem Hahn)

By Stefanie vor Schulte

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Italian: Mondadori in a pre-empt

“Eleven-year-old Martin has nothing but the shirt on his back, and a black rooster—both a protector and a friend.

“The villagers steer clear of the boy, finding him strange; far too smart and kind. They’d rather mistreat him than acknowledge his talents.

“When Martin meets a travelling painter and seizes the chance to leave the village with him, he’s led into a terrible world.”

We Are All Different

By Tracey Turner

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Catalan: Barcanova
  • Spanish/Castilian: Grupo Anaya
  • French: Elcy Editions
  • Korean: Safari
  • Polish: HarperCollins Poland
  • Ukrainian: Ranok

“This inclusive book introduces us to a cast of children who have different abilities and disabilities, likes and dislikes. They come from different places and have different cultures and ethnicities, and they have different family structures and gender identities.

“The book reinforces the message that everyone has something to offer, that diversity enriches our lives.

“It also considers what all human beings have in common: there’s more that unites us than divides us.”

The Six Walls of Life

By Nina Burton

  • Publisher: Albert Bonniers Förlag, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Elisabet Brännström, Bonnier Rights
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Estonian: Postimees
  • Chinese (simple): Guangxi Normal University Press
  • Danish: Kristeligt Dagblad Forlag
  • Dutch: Van Oorschot
  • English (UK): HarperCollins UK
  • Finnish: Schildts & Söderström
  • German: btb Verlag
  • Japanese: Soshisha
  • Korean: Open Books
  • Polish: Burda
  • Russian: AdMarginem
  • Slovak: Ikar
  • Slovenian: Mladinska
  • Spanish: Gallo Nero

“A clear heir to the Swedish tradition of nature writing first made famous by Kerstin Ekman, Nina Burton writes with enthusiasm and an inspiring curiosity, while enlightening the reader about the greater natural world.

“She transports us into her chirping, buzzing, humming sanctuary, letting us in on the hidden secrets of the animals who have taken up residence on our doorsteps and in our hearts. What begins with a renovation of Burton’s summer cottage swiftly turns into an exploration of nature, life and philosophy in the hands of the award-winning essayist.

“Within the walls, the ceiling and the floor of the cottage and its surrounding garden, we encounter a host of animals—ants, honey bees, foxes, squirrels, blackbirds, badgers, pigeons and deer—making her house their home, which prompted Nina to explore what is awe-inspiring and often delightfully surprising in each species.”

Burton is the 2016 August Prize winner in nonfiction.

The Invisibles
(De osynlige)

By Lone Theils

  • Publisher: Lindhardt & Ringhof, Copenhagen
  • Rights contact: Lena Stjernström, Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Finland: Storyside
  • Norway: Cappelen Damm
  • Sweden: Storyside

“During a holiday in Denmark, Nora Sand meets Victoria Melville-Henley, a prominent Danish-English lawyer.

“When the lawyer is killed and Nora investigates the reasons, she learns that Melville-Henley was leading a commission of inquiry into the historical abuse of children involving a number of powerful Britons from the political, cultural, ecclesiastical, and military tops of society. These people spare no means to cover up the sins of the past.”

This is the fifth volume in the Nora Sand crime series.

Gentle Power: A Revolutions in How We Think, Lead, and Succeed

By Emilia Lahti

  • Publisher: Sounds True, Louisville, Colorado
  • Rights contact: Toomas Aasmäe, Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • China: Cheers

A title on co-creating the next level of company and community cultures based on the science of sisu, the Finnish concept of stoic determination, resilience, and hardiness.

“The book introduces the original concept of gentle power, a universal strategy for how to draw from a deep well of inner strength and fortitude in order to lead more effectively in all aspects of life.

The Betrayals

By Bridget Collins

  • Publisher: HarperFiction / Borough Press, London
  • Rights contact: Amy Mitchell, United Agents
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spanish: Urano
  • Polish: MAG
  • Italian: Garzanti
  • Chinese (complex): Yeren
  • German: Aufbau
  • Russian: Ripol
  • Dutch: House of Books

“An imaginative and intricately crafted literary epic from the author of The Binding.

“At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters. Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi.

“When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before. Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies.  And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls.”

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.