LitAg: Türkiye’s Nermin Mollaoğlu and Italian Literary Agency

In News by Olivia Snaije

Quick snapshots from two long-time Frankfurt veterans, Nermin Mollaoğlu of Istanbul and the Italian Literary Agency, on their latest projects.

Merve Diler, left, and Nermin Mollaoğlu, Kalem Agency. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije

See also: Nermin Mollaoğlu Opens a Press in the United Kingdom

Kalem’s Nermin Mollaoğlu Celebrates Her 20 Years at Frankfurt

This is is the 20th year at Frankfurter Buchmesse for the Türkiye-based Kalem Agency’s Nermin Mollaoğlu, who recalls her first Frankfurt as being painful. Because she didn’t know anyone, or because she felt lost? Because of my shoes, she replies. They were high-heeled back then. Today she is clad in green sneakers, with a matching green necklace.

Among some of the Publishing Perspectives readership’s best-known literary rights agents, Mollaoğlu began her career as a midwife, then taught literature and moved on to study economic law. Now, she says, her babies are books. She’s in Frankfurt with Merve Diler, part of the seven-women Kalem team at the trade show.

Diler has been with the agency for five years and handles international fiction.

Kalem just wrapped up the 15th edition of the Istanbul International Literature Festival (ITEF), which it has run since 2009. Olga Tokarczuk was the festival’s first guest, “before anyone knew who she was,” Mollaoğlu says.

This year she’s selling rights to her author Burhan Sönmez’s new nonfiction essay about art and humanity. Sönmez, whose books Mollaoğlu has sold into 46 languages, lives in the United Kingdom. He teaches at Cambridge University and is president of PEN International.

He wrote his new book in English.

Note: An earlier edition of this story inaccurately reported that Nermin Mollaoğlu’s Kalem Agency had celebrated its 20th Frankfurt this year. In fact, it’s Kalem founder Mollaoğlu who has reached her own 20th Buchmesse, her agency having been founded in 2005-2006.

At Frankfurt 38 Years for the Italian Literary Agency

Marco Vigevani, founding chairman of the Italian Literary Agency. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Olivia Snaije

It’s Marco Vigevani’s 38th Buchmesse. He’s head of the Italian Literary Agency (TILA) which he says just gave company shares to three of its agents in order to indicate how valuable they are, and to ensure the agency’s continuity.

One of the books he’s selling is Ugo Barbàra’s I Malarazza (Bad Breed). It’s a historical novel set in the 19th century between Sicily and New York. Vigevani has sold rights in the Netherlands and is negotiating a pre-empt in France.

Many of the agency’s books are in development as television series, such as Elsa Morante’s La Storia (TILA represents Morante’s estate) to Picomedia; Antonio Scurati’s M. Il figlio del secolo, the first volume of a fictional trilogy about Mussolini, to The Apartment/Fremantle; and Fabrizio Gatti’s Bilal, My Journey Undercover in the Market of the New Slaves to Indiana/Sky.

More from Publishing Perspectives on literary agents is here, more on the Turkish market is here, more on the Italian market is here,  and more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here. More from Publishing Perspectives on international rights is here.

Now available here for your free download, our 2023 Publishing Perspectives Frankfurt Book Fair magazine

Our 75th Frankfurt coverage from our Frankfurt Book Fair Magazine, which has been available throughout the trade show in print, is also available for your free download.

The magazine has more interviews with fellows and grant-program recipients from international publishing markets, as well as previews of programming from our Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurt including our Executive Talks with Penguin Random House worldwide CEO Nihar Malaviya and Nanmeebooks’ Kim Chongsatitwana; highlights of key events at the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse; and coverage of Frankfurt’s upcoming guest of honor programs (Italy, the Philippines, the Czech Republic) and this year’s Guest of Honor Slovenia.

There’s also news of literary agents and agencies; award-winning books from guest of honor markets; focus articles on artificial intelligence, sustainability; and a forthcoming effort to get more Korean literature into world markets; as well as 75th-anniversary “Frankfurt Moments.”

About the Author

Olivia Snaije

Olivia Snaije is a journalist and editor based in Paris who writes about translation, literature, graphic novels, the Middle East, and multiculturalism. She is the author of three books and has contributed to newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Global Post, and The New York Times.