International Rights Roundup: ‘Wordless Comics’ and Cat Pictures

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Today’s Rights Roundup features writings from France, South Africa, Greece, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

Authors and illustrators whose work is represented in this edition of Rights Roundup are, clockwise from upper left, Rešoketšwe Manenzhe; Petros Markaris; Luc de Brabandere; Anne Mikolajczak; Vincent Rif; Matias Riikonen; Subi Bosa; and Rob Biddulph

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

Reading the Images
Hear in our first Rights Roundup of the year, we wish you all the best for 2022. We seem to find a lot of heads nodding in agreement when we mention that it feels as if that new year is two months old, not just two weeks. Time doesn’t necessarily fly when the world is so full of news.

However, we’re here with a round of titles from our participating group of more than 160 rights directors and literary agents working in the international rights trade, and if you’d like us to have you on our reminder list, just drop a note to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com .

Today, we have work from Finland, the United Kingdom, Greece, France, and South Africa. And we’ll just point out that we have a rare bird—a cat, actually, named Miyayu—in a series from Cape Town’s Imagnary House (that’s not a typo: Imagnary). These are “wordless comics.” That’s rare because our focus here on books normally means words are the core communicative device. In this case, Subi Bosa’s illustrations take over, and the young reader is invited to “read” the illustrations.

Here’s a panel, which, by the way, brings us to another first here at Publishing Perspectives: we’re publishing cat pictures on the Internet. We promise not to make a habit of that.

A panel from Subi Bosa’s ‘Miyayu’ series. Image: Imagnary House

And, as in each roundup, we use some of the sales copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors, editing that copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone, but limiting the promotional elements. If you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.


Scatterlings

By Rešoketšwe Manenzhe

  • Publisher: Jacana Media, Johannesburg
  • Rights contact: Maria Cardona, Pontas Literary & Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – English outside South Africa: HarperVia
  • German: Penguin Verlag
  • Czech: Odeon
  • Italian: To be announced

“In this journey, someone will get lost, someone will give up and turn back, and someone may go all the way to the end. All these people will try to tell you the story of what happened.

“Winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, the 2021 HSS Award for Best Fiction, and shortlisted for the Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards,  Resoketswe Manenzhe’s Scatterlings, in the spirit of Transcendent Kingdom and A Burning, tells the story of a multiracial family in South Africa when the Immorality Act is passed, revealing the story of one family’s scattered souls in the wake of history.”


The Art of Horror

By Petros Markaris

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World Spanish: Tusquets
  • Catalan: Tusquets
  • German: Diogenes Verlag
  • Italian: La Nave di Teseo

A police procedural with pandemic overtones.

“Commissioner Haritos is back to investigate. But this time, in addition to killers and criminals, he must also face the limitations and difficulties that the pandemic has caused us.

“A challenged relationship with new technologies will not help him, but the inspector’s intuition, attention, and intelligence always remain the same.

“The stories of Petros Markaris remind us how our lives are made up of loneliness, joy, and fear, but also of moments of laughter, memories, and nostalgia.”


Plato vs. Aristotle

By Luc de Brabandere and Anne Mikolajczak
Illustrated by Vincent Rif 

  • Publisher: Éditions Sciences Humaines, Auxerre
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Greece: Kaktos, at auction

“Plato and Aristotle are two giants, and in a way we are all their children. Even if they lived in antiquity, even if we have not read them, even if we do not know much about them, they still influence our everyday ways of reasoning, imagining, classifying or arguing. These two immense and different intelligences have built a foundation on which all Western philosophy has developed.

“In this book, Luc de Brabandere takes us on a philosophical journey, demonstrating that Plato and Aristotle are today, and always have been, essential for thinking about the great questions of the world, and that their rigor can shed light on the problems that concern us today and will concern us tomorrow.”


Matara

By Matias Riikonen

  • Publisher: Teos, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Helsinki Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World French: Christian Bourgois Éditeur

Matara is a story about boys who spend their summers building realms of their own.

“With the cruel nations of yore prowling the borders of the Republic of Matara, neither birthright nor wealth excuses someone from the military drills that ensure the realm’s safety.

“Senators scheme in togas made of sheets, mannequins stand in for wives, and circus entertainments are devised to thrill the charcoal-whiskered rabble. In Riikonen’s hands, the boys’ violence and tenderness meld into literature.”


Miyayu:  The Mischievous Cat, No. 1

By Subi Bosa

  • Publisher: Imagnary House, Cape Town
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, SB Rights Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

No rights sales to date.

“Miyayu: The Mischievous Cat is a new South African comic book series by Subi Bosa. A note on the cover refers to this title as a “wordless comic,” and a couple of sample panels displayed by the publisher seem to bear that out. The only reading material we spot in those panels is the “z-z-z-z-z” of Miyayu doing a lot of sleeping.

“The first volume introduces Miyayu, a feral cat living in the big city. Miyayu has a big heart and huge ideas, but his plans never quite seem to turn out right, for him or anybody else.

“Subi Bosa, the author, is developing another series in collaboration with Imagnary House and the Learning Initiative to aid early childhood development in Southern Africa.”

A panel from Subi Bosa’s ‘Miyayu’ series. Image: Imagnary House


Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

By Rob Biddulph

  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan, London
  • Rights contact: Asia Mabboni, Pan Macmillan
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Albanian: Mediaprint
  • Greek: Papadopoulos
  • Catalan: Barcanova
  • French: Bayard
  • Spanish: Anaya
  • German: HarperCollins
  • Dutch: Meis & Maas
  • Turkish: Kultur
  • Simplified Chinese: Beijing DiaoYuan Culture Communication
  • Farsi: Porteghal Publications

This book is the first installment in a series of titles for young readers aged 8 to 12.

“Some legends are born, some are drawn.

“Drawing feels like magic to Peanut Jones. But art can’t fix her problems. Her dad has gone missing, and she’s stuck in a boring new school. [But] she finds a unique pencil turbo-charged with special powers. Suddenly she’s pulled into a world of more color, creativity, excitement, and danger than she could have imagined. And she might find out what happened to her dad.”


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.