Rights Roundup: Frankfurt Anticipation Picks Up Speed

In News by Porter Anderson

This Roundup features work from England, Norway, Germany, France, and Canada, plus a film in pre-production with Jake Gyllenhaal.

Authors and illustrators whose work is featured in this Rights Roundup are, top row from left, Victoria Kielland, Lucinda Riley, Harry Whittaker, and Jane Ray. On the lower row, from left: Thomas King, Isabelle Autissier, Romy Hausman, and Clarissa Goenawan

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

Casanovas & Lynch: A New Brazilian Client
On the road to Frankfurt now—with at least 70 tables in the Literary Agents and Scouts Center—we have news today (October 1) from Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency in Barcelona that the very new Brazilian publishing house Fósforo Editora has chosen the agency for its worldwide translation and audiovisual rights handling, worldwide.

“Fósforo is the new Brazilian home,” writes Marina Penalva, “of Annie Ernaux, Katharina Volcker, Samanta Schweblin, Saidiya Hartman, Mary Gaitskill, Hilton AlsJohn Berger, Jessica Au, and Kim Hye-jin, among many other great names, and is spearheaded by Rita Mattar and Fernanda Diamant, two editors with vast experience and extremely good literary taste.

“They will bring to the world the most exciting voices from Brazil and the books that we’ll all be talking about in a few years.”

She’s outlooking a bestselling essay from Marcelo Leite, Psiconautas, “on the ‘psychedelic renaissance’ and the revolutionary medical use coming from psychedelic drugs today, especially in the area of mental health.” That one was published in May.

Coming next year, Penalva says, “is Scarred Roads by Jose H. Bortoluci, a work she calls “halfway between a literary essay and a fictional biography.”

In describing it, Penalva says, “Bortoluci follows the roads that were his father’s home for five decades, in an attempt to understand the complexities of the social inequalities embedded in Brazilian history, the painful memory of years of dictatorship which still shape our politics, and the love of a family who struggles to make ends meet.

“Aiming to articulate both biography and history through the use of memorable first-person narrators, Bortoluci gets inspiration from great authors such as Joan Didion and James Baldwin, venturing through the genre known as ‘autofiction’ which has been mastered by authors such as Annie Ernaux.’

“If there was a literary award for the most engaging book proposal, Scarred Roads,” she says, “translated by Julia Sanches, should win it.”

Maria Lynch

And be sure to watch for Casanovas & Lynch’s Maria Lynch, who joins us on October 21 in a program from the new Frankfurt Studio in Hall 4. She’ll be part of our B2B programming streamed live onto the jumbo screen in Messe Frankfurt’s Agora and onto the Internet for those who can’t be with us in Frankfurt live. Lynch is on our first of three panels in a two-hour special event focused on “The Future of Independent Publishing” and also featuring:

  • A keynote address from publisher Nelleke Geel of Amsterdam’s Meridiaan Uitgevers
  • London-based literary scout Rebecca Servadio
  • Juergen Boos, president and CEO of Frankfurt Book Fair
  • Picador UK’s Ravi Mirchandani
  • Paris’ Juliette Ponce of Éditions Dalva
  • Pierre Astier of Astier-Pécher Literary & Film Agency
  • Jean Mattern of Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle
  • Sandro Ferri of Rome’s Edizioni E/O

That program, originating entirely from the physical book fair, starts at 2 p.m. CEST, and you can keep up with all our programming highlights here.

And since Penalva has brought up translation for us today, we’d like to commend to you the brand-new campaign launched just on Thursday (September 30) by the Society of Authors in London.

Some of the biggest names in the business are asking publishers to name #TranslatorsOnTheCover and bring their work out of the shadows. Literary agents may “suddenly” (the title of one of our listings below today) find their clients asking that their contracts stipulate that when their work goes into translation, the translator be named on the book cover.

“From now on we will be asking,” say the authors “in our contracts and communications, that our publishers ensure, whenever our work is translated, that the name of the translator appears on the front cover.”

With more than 1,200 authors committing to this in some 24 hours, momentum is building to change what many in the business have long believed was unfair and unethical, leaving translators to fight for recognition in ways that authors haven’t had to do.

As it happened, yesterday’s International Translation Day turned out to be a very busy one for the Society of Authors–and the Authors Guild in New York City, which sent a quick message to show solidarity with the British authors.

A programming note: If you’re interested in the Frankfurt Conference program, which runs on October 11 (academic publishing) and October 12 (trade publishing), this is an all-digital set of afternoon events (Frankfurt time) designed to set the stage for the following week’s Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 20 to 24).

We’ve opened a special page of programming with links you’ll need to register, should you want to participate, and you’ll find that scheduling and full details here. On that same landing page, you’ll see notification of all our coverage, too—a constantly updating way to stay fully on top of this pivotal year for Frankfurt.

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.

My Men
(Mine Menn)

By Victoria Kielland

  • Publisher: No Comprendo Press, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Gina Winje, Winje Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – French: Éditions Dalva

One of NORLA’s Selected Titles this autumn, My Men is a work of fiction inspired by actual events, about Brynhild, a Norwegian servant girl, who emigrated to America in the late 19th century and became Bella Sørensen, then Belle Gunness of La Porte, Indiana.

“After her death, Belle would become known as the United States’ first female serial killer, but Kielland writes in an urgent language about a broken person, one who is always yearning; about going to the ends of the earth; about those who refuse to lose themselves; those who shall live and those who must die. 

“No one who loves with their whole self can survive.”

Grace and the Christmas Angel

By Lucinda Riley

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Slovak: Vydavatel’stvo Tatran
  • Brazilian Portuguese: Editora Arqueiro
  • Lithuanian: Tyto Alba
  • Danish: Gyldendal

“It’s Christmas Eve. The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped and it’s a big day for Grace, who is singing in the nativity show. Her fisherman father has promised to be back in time to watch her.

“When a storm blows up at sea, Grace walks out on stage to find Daddy isn’t there. She’s very worried. But luckily, Grace has someone watching over her. Will the Christmas Angel named Hope be able to help her father get home safely for Christmas morning?”

Indians on Vacation

By Thomas King

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
  • Rights contact: Meg Wheeler, Westwood Creative Artists
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Exclusive Portuguese in Brazil, non-exclusive for the rest of the World (excluding Portugal, Angola and Mozambique): Dublinense
  • World French: Memoire d’encrier
  • Opera rights: Edmonton Opera

“Inspired by a handful of postcards sent nearly 100 years ago, Bird and Mimi attempt to trace long-lost uncle Leroy and the family medicine bundle he took with him to Europe.

“I’m sweaty and sticky. My ears are still popping from the descent into Vaclav Havel. My sinuses ache. My stomach is upset. My mouth is a sewer. I roll over and bury my face in a pillow. Mimi snuggles down beside me with no regard for my distress.

“‘My god,’ she whispers, ‘can it get any better?’”

By turns witty, sly, and poignant, this is the unforgettable tale of one couple’s holiday in Europe, where their wanderings through its famous capitals reveal a complicated history, both personal and political. ”

A Companion of the Order of Canada and the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Thomas King taught at the University of Lethbridge and was chair of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. His The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America won the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize. Indians on Vacation spent 22 weeks on the Canadian bestseller lists.


By Isabelle Autissier

  • Publisher: Éditions Stock, Paris
  • Rights contact: Maylis Vauterin, Éditions Stock
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – English / UK & Commonwealth: Pushkin Press
  • North America: Penguin, five-figure
  • Czech Republic: Argo
  • Germany: Mare Verlag
  • Italy: Rizzoli
  • Japan: Shueisha
  • Korea: Jaeum & Moeum
  • Romania: RAO
  • Russia: Phantom Press
  • Slovakia: Inaque
  • Spain: DeBolsillo

A film adaptation is reported to be in pre-production, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Vanessa Kirby attached to star, Thomas Bidegain directing. Artémis Productions in Belgium is to lead, with Alain Attal, Riva Marker, and Gyllenhaal listed as producers.

Isabelle Autissier is the first woman to have sailed around the world solo in competition. She is the chair of the World Wildlife Federation France and has published novels, short stories, and essays.

“Louise is an experienced mountaineer, Ludovic a well-built young man. They give up their Paris apartment to travel the world together on their sailboat.

“The island where they land to the south of the ‘roaring forties’ captivates them with its wild beauty. Only, there’s a little black cloud appearing on the horizon. The storm hits and destroys everything, their boat disappears. They find themselves suddenly alone.”

Perfect Day

By Romy Hausman

  • Publisher: DTV Verlagsgesellschaft, Munich (publishing in January)
  • Rights contact: Andrea Seibert, DTV Verlagsgesellschaft
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • NewestEnglish World: Quercus
  • Denmark: Superlux
  • Lithuania: Lithuanian Writers’ Union Publishing House
  • Norway: Cappelen Damm

Girls have been disappearing for the past fourteen years. The culprit has been at large. One evening, the internationally renowned philosophy professor and anthropologist Walter Lesniak is arrested on the suspicion of murder. The focus of his research: the face of evil. The accusation: the murders of ten young girls. Lesniak’s daughter Ann is certain this is all some kind of mistake. And she will prove it. Yet, with the arrest of her father, she begins a journey into the unknown.


By Clarissa Goenawan

  • Publisher: Scribe, London
  • Rights contact: Maria Cardona, Pontas Literary & Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Bahasa Indonesia: Gramedia

“When Shouji Arai crosses one of his company’s most powerful clients, he must leave Akakawa immediately or risk his life. But his girlfriend Youko is nowhere to be found.

“He travels to Tokyo, where he tries in vain to track Youko down. But Shouji soon realizes that not everything Youko told him about herself was true.

“Who is the real woman he once lived with and loved, and where could she be hiding? A novel of loves lost and recovered, of secrets never spoken, of how our pasts shape our futures.”

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 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.