Rights Roundup: On to Frankfurt’s Fairgrounds

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The business of the book takes centerstage at Frankfurt, but it’s those gleams of artistry, even fleeting, that finally compel rights sales.

Our ‘Publishing Perspectives Presents’ conversation with author Mohsin Hamid is set for 5:30 p.m. on Frankfurt Wednesday, October 19, onstage at the Frankfurt Pavilion in the Agora. Image: FBM, Marc Jacquemin

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

Update, October 10: Since this story’s original publication, we have added several listings and expect to have a chance to add more in coming days.

The Glint of This Artistry
As focused as we are on the business of books–specifically here the buying and selling of rights–it can be frustrating at times to realize that we frequently sail right past the sheer artistry of a book, an author, a designer’s cover, a translator’s genius. Needless to say each of those people would probably prefer our rights directors and agents and scouts “keep their eyes on the prize” in pursuit of those rights sales.

But sometimes, the glint of this artistry all around us in the world of publishing catches your eye so deftly–usually with something quite small–that you have to stop and look. An example today is in the first title we’re listing, Tina Harnesk’s Folk som sår i snö from Malmo-based publisher Bokfabriken, represented by Kaisa Palo at the Ahlander Agency.

The book, just published this year, is doing really well, the agency reporting fast sales into an enviable 14 languages and territories. But what’s worth a thought here is the taut eloquence of the English title, which really sings.

The title in English is Those Who Sow in Snow –about as evocative a image as you can find and blessed even with that touch of rhyme. Lovely, isn’t it?

Mohsin Hamid. Image: Jerry Bauer

The second example I’ll offer you before we jump into our Rights Roundup is from author Mohsin Hamid. I’m going to have the pleasure of interviewing Hamid onstage at Frankfurt Pavilion, the large white structure in the Agora at Frankfurter Buchmesse. After he gives the keynote address at Frankfurt’s Opening Press Conference on October 18, Hamid will sit down with me the next day for an hour: October 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Juergen Boos, president and CEO of Frankfurt, has called Hamid “a great time-diagnostic narrator,” an author whose gift is to interrogate the times in which we live.

Translation rights for Hamid’s five novels and his book of essays have sold into at least 40 languages and territories, and his voice is among the most disruptive in literature today. What’s more, his actual voice is one you can hear with each release: Hamid tracks his own fiction for his titles, not the norm for most novelists. Thus you get to hear his work in his audiobooks just as he hears it when he writes it.

The line I’m thinking of from his work is in his latest release, The Last White Man, published on August 2 by Penguin/Riverhead Books in the States and on August 11 by Penguin Random House UK/Hamish Hamilton in the United Kingdom. It was published in its German translation by Nicolai von Schweder-Schreiner from Dumont Buchverlag (Der letzte weiße Mann) on August 16.

In the moment that stops you when you read it, a grown daughter is leaving after a visit with her mother. Her mother looks at her beloved daughter and says with no humor or irony whatever, “You’re so beautiful. You should get a gun.

If you’re on the Messe at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19, we hope you’ll join us for this Publishing Perspectives Presents conversation with Mohsin Hamid.

Publishing Perspectives Forum: You’re Invited

Some of the 38 speakers you’ll find at the inaugural Publishing Perspectives Forum, October 19 and 20 at Frankfurter Buchmesse. Top row from left: Charlie Redmayne, HarperCollins UK; Christine Chong, Singapore Book Publishers Association and Tusitala Press; Tobias Henning, Tiktok Germany; Núria Cabutí, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial; and Peter Warwick, Scholastic. Center row from left: Sharon Baiden, AkooBooks; Tom Kraushaar, Klett-Cotta; Ūla Ambrasaitė, LAPAS Books; David Taylor, Ingram Content Group; Urpu Strellman. And on the third row from left: Niko Pfund, Oxford University Press; Shereen Dar Asala; Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown Group; Trasvin Jittidecharak, Silkworm Books; and Wil Harris, Unbound

Schedule some time at #Frankfurt for our Publishing Perspectives Forum, October 19 and 20. We’re proud to bring you these key publishing influencers and leaders who are coming together with us from an array of countries fortwo days of Executive Talks and panel discussions. Our B2B program is entirely free to all Book Fair trade visitors and exhibitors, all in English, determinedly internationalist, and everyone is welcome. Here are full details.

Benas Berantas

We’ll call your attention here in Rights Roundup especially to one of our speakers, Benas Berantas of the Book Smugglers Agency, the first and currently the only independent rights agent from Lithuania. He works with books for young readers. He appears in a panel from Frankfurt’s coming Guest of Honor Slovenia (2023), as do senior rights manager Senja Požar of Slovenia’s Mladinska knjiga and literary agent and Helsinki Literary Agency CEO Urpu Strellman. That session, “Small Is Beautiful, But Complicated: What Can We Learn From Book Businesses in Small and Niche Markets?” is set for 2 p.m. at the Publishing Perspectives Forum on Thursday, October 20.

Most of our sessions will come in under an hour to allow you to make it to your next event. And if you have a meeting cancellation?–come over to us and drop in, even for a few minutes, then dash when you need to. Slip in at the back, bring the sandwich, slip out 10 minutes later. No problem. We get it. It’s Frankfurt.

Those Who Sow in Snow
(Folk som sår i snö)

By Tina Harnesk

  • Publisher: Bokfabriken, Malmo
  • Rights contact: Kaisa Palo, Ahlander Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – United Kingdom: Orion Books
  • Czech Republic: Euromedia
  • Denmark: Modtryk
  • Estonia: Varrak
  • Finland: WSOY
  • Germany: Ullstein
  • Hungary: Lira/Athenaeum
  • Israel: Tchelet Books
  • Italy: Piemme
  • Latvia: Janis Roze
  • Poland: Marginesy
  • Romania: RAO
  • Sweden: Bokfabriken
  • United States: Atria Books

Tina Harnesk

“Máriddja, 85, doesn’t have long to live, and she accepts her fate with furious resignation. Now she needs to keep her condition from her husband Biera and find someone to care for him.

“Kaj and his fiancée Mimmi have moved to a small village in the north of Sweden after the death of Kaj’s mother Laura.

“When Kaj finds a curious box of Sami handicrafts that Laura left him, an improbable chain of events is set in motion, and will ultimately lead him to a life-altering discovery.”

Art and Death: A User’s Manual

By Kjetil Røed

  • Publisher: Res Publica, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Winje Agency AS
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Denmark: Forlaget THP

“A thought-provoking and accessible analysis of art, and a striking criticism of the anxiety about aging and death that’s so charateristic of our times.”

Kjetil Røed

Author and translator Kjetil Røed is editor of Billedkunst, a visual-art journal. He has published a number of reviews and essays in the Norwegian press, including the national newspapers Aftenposten and Klassekampen, as well as reviews for international art publications such as Frieze, Artreview and ArtForum.com.

The year 2019 saw the publication of Røed’s books Working through the Past: Nordic Conceptual Art as a Tool for Re-thinking History (SKIRA editore, Milano) and the critically acclaimed Art & Life: A User’s Manual (Kunsten og livet. En bruksanvisning, 2019), the foreign rights of which have been acquired by a Polish publisher.

In 2021 he translated Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good (Det Godes suverenitet, Cappelen Damm) and completed the sequel to Art & Life, this book: Art & Death. A User’s Manual (Res publica, 2021), “a narrative, nonfiction work in the tradition of essays, on how art, when it moves us, can change our lives.”

Peanut Jones and the Twelve Portals

By Rob Biddulph

  • Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, London
  • Rights contact: Asia Mabboni, Macmillan Children’s Books
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: EL Edizioni
  • Greek: Papadopoulos
  • Catalan: Barcanova
  • French: Bayard
  • Spanish: Anaya
  • German: Verlagsgruppe HarperCollins
  • Dutch: Billy Bones
  • Turkish: Kultur
  • Simplified Chinese: Beijing Diao Yuan Culture Communication
  • Farsi: Porteghal Publications
  • Russia: AST
  • Portuguese: Grupo LeYa)
  • Hebrew: Keter),
  • Albanian: Mediaprint
  • Finnish: Kumma

“Some legends are born, some are drawn. Famous works of art are disappearing all over the world. One moment they’re there, the next, they’ve crumbled to dust.

“Peanut Jones and her friends suspect it might have something to do with the magical world of Chroma and the wicked Mr. White’s plot to wipe out color, art, and creativity.

“It’s time to head back to the Illustrated City and help the resistance fight back.”

Inherited Land

By Maria Turtschaninoff 

  • Publisher: Förlaget (in Swedish), Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlback, Ahlback Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Denmark: Alpha Forlag
  • The Netherlands: Auction
  • Romania: Editura Univers
  • Finland: Tammi (in Finnish)
  • Sweden: Förlaget
  • Azerbaijan: Alatoran

Maria Turtschaninoff

Inherited Land follows in the tradition of family sagas like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

“This novel takes place in an imagined Ostrobothnian village in northern Finland over a span of 400 years and follows a family from the late 1600s to the present day.

“An episodic novel depicting the power of the forest and a relationship with nature by the internationally bestselling YA author of Maresi, which has sold into 31 languages.”

Isidor: A Jewish Life

By Shelly Kupferberg

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – French: Belfond

Shelly Kupferberg

“Dr. Isidor Geller has made it. He’s a highly respected business man, an advisor to the Austrian government, a multimillionaire, an opera lover, art collector, and–after two failed marriages–is in a relationship with a beautiful singer.

“He has come a long way: from a shtetl in the furthest, most impoverished recesses of Galicia to the most elite circles of Viennese society. No one can touch him now, Isidor is sure of that–and certainly not those vulgar National Socialists.

“But in 1938, everything changes from one day to the next.”

The author, Shelly Kupferberg, is a journalist and presenter for Deutschlandfunk Kultur and RBB Kultur, based in Berlin.

The Invention of Good and Evil: A World History of Morality

By Hanno Sauer

  • Publisher: Piper, Munich — publishing spring 2023
  • Rights contact: Andrea Vogel, Michael Gaeb Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – The Netherlands: De Bezige Bij, acquired in a seven-way auction
  • Spain: Paidós
  • Romania: Trei
  • Egypt: Aser Al-Kotob
  • Italy: ongoing auction
  • Portugal: offer pending

Hanno Sauer

“What makes us moral beings? How do we decide what is good and what is evil? And has it always been that way?

“This book is a grand history of our universal moral values at the moment of, perhaps, their greatest crisis.

“With philosophical expertise and empirical data, the Hanno Sauer looks back at the emergence of human cooperation 5 million years ago and explains how processes of biological, cultural, social, and historical evolution shaped the moral grammar that defines us as human beings.”

Hanno Sauer is an associate professor in philosophy at Utrecht University.

A Night Withou ZZZzzzz
(La nuit sans ZZZzzz)

By Marianne Pasquet
Illustrateed by Marianne Ferrer

  • Publisher: Éditions Les 400 coups, Montreal
  • Rights contact: Simon de Jocas, Les 400 coups
  • Book info: Read more here

No rights sales reported yet.

Marianne Pasquet, left, and Marianne Ferrer

“‘I have a funny idea stuck in my head. Tonight, it doesn’t want to leave.’

“A girl can’t fall asleep because of an idea that pesters her late at night. The idea is hard to catch, and it keeps slipping away. So how will she fall asleep?

“Only one possible solution. The girl will need her polka-dot pencil and her blue notebook.”

Nothing To Lose

By Susana Fortes

  • Publisher: Planeta, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Anna Soler-Pont at Pontas Literary & Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Film rights have been sold to “an important Spanish producer,” Soler-Pont tells us, “to be announced.
  • Italian: Astoria

“Three children disappear in 1979 in Galicia–two brothers, Nicolás and Hugo Cadavid, and Blanca Suances.

“The girl is found the next morning in a basket on the riverbank. The two boys are never found.

“Twenty-five years later, skeletal remains are found during excavations at a famous archaeological site. All evidence seems to point to the two brothers.

“Blanca then embarks on a search for the truth, navigating through the deceptive, dangerous paths of memory and finding the strength to keep moving forward.”

Will You Care If I Die?
(Blir du ledsen om jag dör?)

By Nicolas Lunabba

  • Publisher: Natur & Kultur, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Christine Edhäll, Ahlander Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – United Kingdom: Macmillan/Picador
  • Finland: Johnny Kniga
  • Germany: Rowohlt

Nicolas Lunabba

“Nicolas has devoted his adult life to working with youths in vulnerable areas. He never lets anyone come too close, but when he lets an unruly boy named Elijah move in with him, he crosses his own line.

“Grief is the possible price you must pay for love, and Nicolas is wholly unprepared for the journey he and Elijah now set off on together.  With the odds stacked against them, can he keep Elijah out of harm’s way and help him realize his dream of becoming a professional basketball player? And what will happen to the other boys Nicolas can’t take in?

Will You Care if I Die? is a blazingly topical and universal story about what it means to see someone, and the difference it makes to be seen.”

Nicolas Lunabba is the operational manager of Helamalmö, an organization that works with social sustainability and justice.

Greek Myth and Dynamics of the Soul
(Il mito greco e la manutenzione dell’anima)

By Giuseppe Conte

  • Publisher: Giunti Editore, Florence
  • Rights contact: LeeAnn Bortolussi, Giunti Editore
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • World Arabic: AFAQ Publishing and Distribution

“Figures of Greek mythology are interpreted so as to connect them to the human soul.

Giuseppe Conte

In Giuseppe Conte’s book, published in October 2021, “Divinities and heroes are offered as representations of the energy that courses through us.

“The soul is a reality in movement as well as a symbol, and therefore is difficult to describe in scientific terms.

“However, in the figures of Greek mythology where the material and the spiritual planes coexist, instincts, aspirations, tensions, and follies come together to form human nature, and are rendered divine.”

Giuseppe Conte has published books in verse, including The Ocean and the Boy and Ferite e rifioriture (Viareggio Award), now collected in the Oscar Poesie 1983-2015. His collections of essays and travel books include Terre del mito. His novels include Primavera incendiata to Fedeli d’amore, The Third Official (Hemingway Prize), La casa delleonde (Strega Prize finalist) and L’adultera (Manzoni Prize).

A Date With the Lady
(Una cita con la Lady)

By Matthew García Elizondo

  • Publisher: Anagrama, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Laura Palomares, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – France: Éditions Maurice Nadeau
  • Italy: Feltrinelli
  • USA (Spanish): Vintage Español, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • World English: Charco Press
  • Turkish: Siren Yayincilik
  • Portuguese: Record
  • Arabic: Athar Publishing

Matthew García Elizondo

“A spectral journey between life and death, between love and its loss.

“‘I came to Zapotal to die once and for all.’ That opening sentence of the novel evokes the beginning of Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo, and there are echoes in its pages of the grotesque Mexican carnival of self-destruction in Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano.

“In this debut, Mateo García Elizondo uses hypnotic, absorbing prose to narrate a journey into the heart of darkness, the descent into hell of an addict who takes a path with only one possible destination.”

The book was published in June 2019 and in February 2020 won the Primi Ciutat de Barcelona in the Castilian literature category.

In the Literary Agents and Scouts Center at Frankfurter Buchmesse, 2013. Image: FBM, Alexander Heimann

Getting Your Rights Deals to Us

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.