Rights Roundup: Summer’s International Rights Sales

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Our July rights roundup has deal news from Taiwan, Czech Republic, South Africa, Finland, the United States, Germany, and Sweden.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Ana Luiza Serpa

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

‘Of Boys and Men’ Sells Into Seven Markets
As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, the Brookings Institution Press’ Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It has led to author Richard V. Reeves‘ upcoming establishment of the American Institute for Boys and Men.

Richard V. Reeves

Widespread coverage of the book has included Reeves’ TED Talk in Vancouver and, on Monday (July 10), Christine Emba’s magisterial essay for the Washington Post, Men Are Lost. Here’s a Map Out of the Wilderness.” Emba writes, “Today’s problems are real and well documented. Deindustrialization, automation, free trade, and peacetime have shifted the labor market dramatically, and not in men’s favor—the need for physical labor has declined, while soft skills and academic credentials are increasingly rewarded.”

Of Reeves’ work, she writes, “Take Richard Reeves’s book Of Boys and Men, omnipresent in the discourse since its 2022 release. The Brookings Institution scholar has offered wonky potential solutions—’redshirting’ boys by delaying kindergarten entry one year, creating scholarships for men in HEAL (health, education, administration and literacy) jobs. But even he acknowledges he has felt pressure to shy away from some of the harder questions his subject matter raises.”

The Spanish edition of Richard V. Reeves’ ‘Of Boys and Men’ is translated for Deusto by María Maestro Cuadrado

Closely associated by some to Reeves’ work is that of author Scott Galloway, who, like Reeves, has pointed out that making men “more like women” is attractive to neither gender in most cases and works against the key dynamics of masculinity. “My view,” Galloway tells Emba, “is that, for masculinity, a decent place to start is garnering the skills and strength that you can advocate for and protect others with. If you’re really strong and smart, you will garner enough power, influence, kindness to begin protecting others. That is it. Full stop. Real men protect other people.”

In book publishing terms, that’s not so far from the lead taken by Jonathan Simcosky at Quarto Publishing Group where he and the Quarry Books team are developing what he refers to as a “She Can STEM-style collection of illustrated biographies of amazing women in science” and in parallel He Can HEAL, a collection of examples of leading men in the “HEAL-ing professions” of health, education, administration, and literacy—walks of life in which male practitioners have become critically scarce.

Toby Mundy and Vanessa Kerr at Aevitas

We wanted to see what kind of traction Reeves’ Of Boys and Men may be getting in terms of international rights sales.  Reeves’ literary agent Toby Mundy and subsidiary rights director Vanessa Kerr at the London offices of Aevitas tell us than in addition to the book’s UK publication by Diana Broccardo’s Swift Press, the book is making good progress in rights sales:

  • Germany: Xenomoi Verlag
  • Spain: Ediciones Deusto
  • Poland: TNSA
  • Russia: AST
  • Croatia: Naklada OceanMore
  • South Korea: Minumsa
  • China: Tao Zhi Yao Culture

The German edition of Richard V. Reeves’ ‘Of Boys and Men’ is translated at Xenomoi Verlag by Wolfgang Sohst

All this uptake in international markets reflects a broadening trend toward the kind of serious, fact-based analysis that Reeves’ research brings to the table. This makes it possible for the crisis of boys and men to be removed, somewhat, from the emotive and political currents that swirl around gender relations. As Reeves points out, the robust progress that girls and women rightfully have made–with the support of superb, empowering, respectful literature from so many parts of publishing–must continue and be enriched. There’s no letting up on progress for women. Society simply has to help its men, too.

Books and publishing have long held a major stake in this digging-out era’s debates about gender, identity, equality, and dignity.

Emba’s own pivotal Rethinking Sex: A Provocation was released in March 2022 (Penguin Random House/Sentinel). In her new essay, you sense much of the intelligence of that 2022 release informing how she observes the work of Reeves and Galloway.

“In my ideal,” Christine Emba writes at the Post, “the mainstream could embrace a model that acknowledges male particularity and difference but doesn’t denigrate women to do so. It’s a vision of gender that’s not androgynous but still equal, and relies on character, not just biology. And it acknowledges that certain themes—protector, provider, even procreator—still resonate with many men and should be worked with, not against.”

World publishing can be—as it is in the work of Emba, Reeves, and Galloway—a major player in supporting and advancing these important debates. The more widely international rights sales can energize these discussions in the languages of conversations everywhere, the closer the book world can help us get to a world of parity and respect and the chance for each of us to be appreciated and welcomed for what she and he really is.

Gray Tan

A housekeeping note: We’re pleased today to welcome a first listing from Taipei’s Grayhawk Agency, headed by Gray Tan.

Katniss Hsiao’s Before We Were Monsters has just been bought by Suhrkamp in Germany and there are deals in several other markets, with television rights optioned and an auction in play in Thailand. Tan’s comps for the book: Patrick Suskind’s Das Perfume meets Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs.

And you’ll find more about it below in our first listing today, as well as at the Grayhawk Agency’s Frankfurt Rights page on the book.

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.

Before We Were Monsters
By Katniss Hsiao

  • Publisher: Ink Publishing, Taipei
  • Rights contact: Gray Tan, Grayhawk Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Germany: Suhrkamp
  • Russia: Eksmo
  • Poland: Kobiece
  • Vietnam: Nha Nam
  • Television rights: Outland Film
  • Thailand: In auction, with offer

Katniss Hsiao

“Eve, a former ‘super smeller,’ rediscovers her sense of smell at death scenes. Mistakenly cleaning a murder scene, she becomes the prime suspect without evidence.

“To clear her name, she follows the killer’s scent and seeks help from Triple C, a notorious serial killer/artist. Eve must embrace her own darkness to hunt the true monster.

“In her relentless pursuit, she treads the line between justice and her own demons, delving into the depths of the human psyche. Perfume meets The Silence of the Lambs.”

Encyclopedia of Ordinary Things
By Štěpánka Sekaninová
Illustration by Eva Chupiková

  • Publisher: Albatros Media, Prague
  • Rights contact: Tomáš Jodas, Albatros Media
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Chinese (complex): Azoth Books
  • Estonian: Kirjastus Pegasus
  • Romanian: Editura Arc
  • English (United States): Albatros
  • Serbian: Laguna
  • Bosnian: Sarajevo Publishing
  • Mongolian: S.O.G
  • Chinese (simplified): Yunnan Education Publishing House
  • Vietnamese: Huy Hoang Books
  • Hungarian: Tessloff Babilon
  • Korean: Laikami
  • Bulgarian: Prozoretz
  • English (India): Prism Books
  • Latvian: Egmont
  • Spanish: Edelvives

Štěpánka Sekaninová, left, and Eva Chupíková

“Who said ordinariness is boring? This book shows ordinary things, along with their origins and inventors, in a new light.

“Come explore their secrets. They’re all around us. We use them daily, pass them by, and it never occurs to us to stop and think about where they came from. “Shoes, umbrellas, toothbrushes, toothpicks, socks, dolls, and so on and so forth.

“How did they come to be? Who invented them? How did they develop and change over time?”

From ‘Encyclopedia of Ordinary Things.’ Image: Albatros Media

Breaking Milk
By Dawn Garisch

  • Publisher: Karavan Press, Cape Town
  • Rights contact: Catrina Wessels, Catrina Wessels Rights Management
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • English (United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India): Héloïse Press, Canterbury

Dawn Garisch

“Kate, a former geneticist disillusioned by the pressing ethical questions posed by her job, is now an award-winning maker of organic cheese.

“She relies on the farm’s routine and the people and animals in her life to hold steady as her day teeters on a knife’s edge.

“Set on a farm, and taking place over one day, Breaking Milk is a meditation on motherhood, not only in personal and human terms, but also with regard to ourselves as destructive children of the Earth.”

Tuesdays Are Just as Bad
By Cethan Leahy

  • Publisher: Mercier Press, Cork
  • Rights contact: Dee Collins, Mercier Press
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Macedonian: Az Buki Vedi Publishing

“When troubled teenager Adam wakes in hospital after a suicide attempt, he finds that he has company. A ghost. Or perhaps it’s something else. This ‘ghost’ is as confused as Adam about the whole situation.

“Narrated from the point of view of this ‘ghost’, Tuesdays Are Just as Bad follows Adam as he attempts to return to normal life, whatever that is.

“When Adam makes new friends through his counseling sessions, he ends up developing a relationship with one of the gang, Aoife. Surrounded by these friends, Adam starts to feel happy again. The ‘ghost’, however, becomes jealous. In the end, he decides that the only way he can be free of this feeling is to isolate Adam so he can have him all to himself, with catastrophic results.

“A mix of Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It and Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy.”

The Note Crisis: Kekkonen, Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Cold War
By Gordon F. Sander

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

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – English (world): Cornell University Press
  • Estonia: Varrak

Gordon F. Sander

“With the fate of his country and relations between superpowers in the balance, what is the president of Finland to do?

“In 1961, Soviet and American tanks faced off at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin in an explosive confrontation, Berlin Crisis that many feared might lead to World War III.

“Finland, the USSR, and the United States were squaring off for another potentially explosive confrontation over the Kremlin’s desire to maintain its sphere of influence over that country: ‘The Note Crisis.'”

The Magic Sea of Glass
By Jenny Hale

  • Publisher: Harpeth Road Press, Nashville
  • Rights contact: Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Czech Republic: Grada
  • Estonia: Under option
  • Germany: Under option

Jenny Hale

“After the loss of her fiancé a year ago, event planner Lauren Sutton can’t seem to go on with her choice of career or the life she’d built with her fiancé any longer.

“Floundering emotionally, she makes a snap decision to sell her half of the business and spend the summer among the sand dunes and changing tides of the Outer Banks, taking care of an old inn in Rodanthe, North Carolina, with its elderly owner Mary Everett.”

Love Is a Complicated Phase
By Marilena Sommer

  • Publisher: Aufbau, Berlin
  • Rights contact: Inka Ihmels, Aufbau Verlage GmbH & Co. KG
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Spain: Maeva
  • Italy: Giunti

“Charlie, 29, is a computer scientist who loves formulas and is quite tough, yet secretly very romantic.

“When her sister announces that she’s engaged, Charlie’s world is turned upside down. Although she hates [romantic] clichés, deep inside she wants it, too.

“Suddenly she questions everything: long-term friend David, the dream of a university career. And then Nate shows up and crashes her system.”

The Beach
By Anna Breitholtz Monsén

  • Publisher: Bokfabriken, Limhamn
  • Rights contact: Jenny Khayon, Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Poland: Swiat Ksiazk
  • Finland: Minerva
  • Norway: Bonnier Norsk

Anna Breitholtz Monsén

“It’s 1988 and Erik and Peter are summering in Sandinge on the southern coast of Sweden. Peter disappears on a beach. All that’s left behind is clothes with blood stains.

“The case eventually goes cold. Lina Lantz, once a talented police investigator, has left everything to go to her 92-year-old grandfather in Sandinge, with a suitcase full of books and her two cats.

“When a boy is found dead on her beach, she reluctantly gets pulled into the investigation. Her discoveries soon lead her to that summer of 1988, when Peter vanished.”

The book is Anna Breitholtz Monsén’s debut novel.

Submitting Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and publishing-house 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.

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.