Rights Roundup: Packing for London Book Fair

In News by Porter Anderson

Today’s pre-London Book Fair Rights Roundup features work from the States, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Spain, and Australia.

Jose Coronado and Milena Smit star in the Netflix adaptation of Javier Castillo’s ‘The Snow Girl,’ which just was released this week in its English translation by Isabelle Kaufeler. The series has been renewed for a second season. Image: Netflix

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

A Much Better Spring for Javier Castillo
As many of us travel to England for London Book Fair (April 18 to 20), it’s hard not to remember how difficult it has been for this and many book fairs and trade shows since the 2020 onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance this year is expected to be not quite back up to its pre-pandemic levels, but close, we’re told. And the trade fair’s rights center—again this year on ground floor because of Olympia London’s rebuild—is reportedly at the point of selling out its tables.

You may remember our interview with Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial author Javier Castillo in Madrid. At the time, he’d found 60,000 viewers waiting when he jumped online for his first Instagram event—Spain’s bookstores having been slammed shut by the virus just as his new release, La chica de nieve (The Snow Girl) from Suma, had been released.

Having feared that his career had ground to a sudden halt, Castillo became one of so many new fans of digital marketing events. To this day, his Instagram address @javiercordura is on press materials about the author.

Samantha Lien at Kaye Publicity today (April 14) tells us that The Snow Girl—set in Castillo’s native Malaga—would go on to become the most-read novel in Spain during the 2020 lockdowns there.

You may know the title from the Netflix series, which saw its first episode run in English on January 27 of this year. David Ulloa and Laura Alvea direct, with Jesus Maesas Silva and Javier Andres Roig writing the screenplay based on Castillo’s book.

On Tuesday (April 11), the English-language translation of The Snow Girl was released in English in its translation by Isabelle Kaufeler—who unfortunately does not seem to get cover credit on any editions of the book we’ve seen. Maybe that’s something that can be remedied when another of Castillo’s books, The Soul Game, is released in an English translation on  June 27.

Castillo’s work is read in at least 15 languages and in more than 60 markets. Here’s the updated list of rights sold to The Snow Girl, as provided to us by Samantha Lien:

  • Italy: Salani
  • France: Albin 
  • Michel, United Kingdom: Michael Joseph / Penguin Random House
  • Germany: Goldmann / Penguin Random House
  • the Netherlands: Meulenhoff
  • Portugal: Suma / Penguin Random House
  • Korea: Studio ODR
  • Slovenia: HKZ
  • Estonia: Kirjastus Pegasus
  • Hungary: Alexandra Kiado
  • Czech Republic: Dobrovsky
  • Romania: Grup Media Litera
  • Russia: Zorge
  • Turkey: Epsilon Yayinevi
  • Brasil: Suma Companhia Das Letras / Penguin Random House
  • United States: Grupo Books / Penguin Random House
  • Poland: Literackie

Reportedly, The Snow Girl has sold more than 1 million copies prior to its English release, a number that should go up with the new tie-in edition from Penguin Random House for the Netflix series.

The series already has been renewed for a second season, having racked up 101.7 million hours of viewership in three weeks on Netflix’s non-English list. In both the United Kingdom and United States, the show’s winter debut put the title into the streamer’s Top 10 for about two weeks, according to Kasey Moore at What’s on Netflix—an auspicious beginning—and a big win for a book that was first read during that dark spring of 2020.

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.

How Finland Survived Stalin:
From Winter War to Cold War, 1939-1950
By Kimmo Rentola

  • Publisher: Otava,  Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlback, Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World English: Yale University Press
  • Estonia: Äripäev

Kimmo Rentola

“How did Finland evade Joseph Stalin’s crosshairs three times? Kimmo Rentola explores Stalin’s invasion of Finland in the Winter War, and the decade of fraught Soviet-Finnish relations that followed, including Finland’s exit from World War Two and a possible coup in 1948.

“This is a dramatic reconstruction of the Nordic republic’s unlikely survival.”

This is a 2016 release that may find new resonance today, with Finland joining NATO amid Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine and parallels between that invasion and the Winter War.”

Stone Maidens
By Lloyd Devereux Richards

  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing / Thomas & Mercer, Seattle
  • Rights contact: Elisa Fabbri at Amazon Publishing, and Elisabeth Weed at the Book Group
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Polish: Czarna Owca (at auction)
  • Croatian: Story House Egmont
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Intrinseca (in a pre-empt)

Lloyd Devereux Richards

From an author made popular on TikTok by his supportive daughter, “Lloyd Devereux Richards, Stone Maidens is about FBI agent Christine Prusik as she attempts to unmask a serial killer whose calling card has a connection to her own haunted past.

“With more than 400,000 followers and a viral video with more than 50 million views, Stone Maidens has sold into three languages, with more in negotiation.”

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding
By Holly Ringland

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
  • Rights contact: Sharan Galant
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Poland: Marginesy
  • Italy: Garzanti
  • Canada: Anansi
  • Portugal: Porto
  • Croatia: Znanje
  • Bulgaria: Colibri
  • Hungary: Alexandra
  • United Kingdom: Legend Press
  • France: Fayard
  • Romania: Humanitas
  • Russia: MTS Library
  • Finland: Minerva

Holly Ringland

Referred to as an “uplifting emotional novel,” The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding is by the author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

“The last time Esther Wilding’s beloved older sister Aura was seen, she was walking along the shore towards the sea.

“In the wake of Aura’s disappearance, Esther’s family struggles to live with their loss. To seek the truth about her sister’s death, Esther reluctantly travels from Lutruwita, Tasmania to Copenhagen, and then to the Faroe Islands, following the trail of the stories Aura left behind: seven fairy tales about selkies, swans and women, alongside cryptic verses Aura wrote and had secretly tattooed on her body.”

By Stephanie Barrouillet

  • Publisher: Rotopol Press, Kassel
  • Rights contact: SB Rights Agency, Stephanie Barrouillet
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – English: Fantagraphics
  • French: Misma Editions
  • Swedish: Lystring

Anna Haifisch

“It’s such a thing with diplomacy in the animal kingdom. You often have different views, but generally try not to step on anyone’s paws or claws too much.

“In her latest book Schappi, Anna Haifisch blurs the boundaries between humans and animals in a subtle way. In five collected short stories carnivores and herbivores meet at a nerve-wracking congress, we get to know a merciless, art-collecting lizard, meet dancing ostriches and a melancholy meditating octopus.

“Haifisch tells of the everyday struggle in the steppe or on the drawing table, of self-imposed isolation and friendship. At the end of the day there is hope, even for crying weasels.”


The JerryMaya Detective Agency Comic
By Martin Widmark
Illustrated by Helena Willis

  • Publisher: Egmont Publishing AB, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Elin Rydner, Rights and Brands
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Poland: Wyndawnictwo Zakamarki SP
  • Germany: Edition Helden
  • Denmark: Turbine Forlaget A/S
  • Finland: Werner Söderström

Martin Widmark, Helena Willis

Based on popular Swedish novels, The JerryMaya Detective Agency has also been available as a comic magazine since 2020.

“Published in Swedish by Egmont with six issues per year, the magazine contains two brand-new stories per issue.

“The resourceful detectives Jerry and Maya solve many mysteries together with the chief of police in Valleby, and brace readers of all ages for cases taken on by the duo.”

Yuan Huan’s Telephone Booth

  • Publisher: Tudem Publishing Group, Istanbul
  • Rights contact: Goksun Bayraktar Seton, Black Cat Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Simplified Chinese: Daylight Publishing House
  • World Arabic; Aser Al Kotob
  • World Korean: Prunsoop
  • World Italian: Emons Edizioni
  • World Albanian: Botimet Efekos

This book was on IBBY’s 2022 honors list and its author, Miyase Sertbarut, has been nominated for a 2024 Hans Christian Andersen Award, according to Goksun Bayrakter Seton.

Miyase Sertbarut

“A mysterious novel containing five linked stories makes its readers question the relationship between technology and literature.

“İlhami finds reading stories boring, but when he discovers an old red telephone box, and picks up the receiver he is enchanted by the strange tales it tells him.

“Soon he’s hooked on the stories, and as İlhami discovers more about the mystery of the telephone box’s artificial intelligence, he also discovers his own love of reading. ”

The Incommensurables
By Raphaela Edelbauer

  • Publisher: Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart
  • Rights contact: Andrea Vogel at Michael Gaeb Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – France: Métailié
  • The Netherlands: Spectrum

Raphaela Edelbauer

“Vienna, July 31, 1914: In frenetic excitement, the inhabitants of the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire await the expiration of the German ultimatum.

“The city is a raging torrent. Enthusiasm for the war pervades every last corner of Vienna.

“In the middle of this war frenzy, three young people meet who are worlds apart—divided by social class, and shaped by gender roles that they do not fit into.”

The book is described as “an ingenious, feverish novel about a turning point in history that heralded the modern age.”

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

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.