Book Deals: Week of December 12, 2022 – Publishers Weekly

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DEAL OF THE WEEK
Morgan Entrekin bought North American rights to James Lee Burke’s Flags on the Bayou for Atlantic Monthly Press. Set in Louisiana during the Civil War, the novel, which is slated for July 2023, follows a disparate group of characters, including enslaved and free women and Confederate and Union soldiers, “caught in the maelstrom” of the “disintegration” of the South, the publisher explained. Entrekin compared Flags on the Bayou to prior novels that Atlantic parent Grove has published, like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and David Wright Faladé’s Black Cloud Rising. He said it “depicts the violence and chaos of war” with “two great love stories at its heart.” Burke, known for his Dave Robicheaux novels, has won two Edgar awards and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America; he was represented in the deal by Anne-Lise Spitzer at the Philip Spitzer Literary Agency.

Mezrich Tweets at Grand Central
Grand Central Publishing will release Ben Mezrich’s Breaking Twitter in fall 2023. North American rights to the title were purchased as part of a 2021 two-book agreement between the bestselling author of Bringing Down the House and the Hachette imprint, brokered by Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor; also included in that deal was 2021’s The Antisocial Network. Ben Sevier at Grand Central will edit Breaking Twitter, which is, per the imprint, a “rollicking, character-driven narrative” chronicling “the incredibly public and darkly comic battle between Elon Musk—one of the most intriguing, polarizing, and influential men of our time—and the company that represents our culture’s dearest hope for a shared global conversation.”
Walsh Inks Double at Harper
For six figures, Harper Muse’s Kimberly Carlton bought world rights to two books, including a currently untitled historical novel, from Jenni L. Walsh (The Call of the Wrens). The deal was brokered by Shannon Hassan at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. The historical novel is based on the life of 1930s tennis star Alice Marble, who was also a spy during WWII and edited the Wonder Woman comic in the 1940s. Elaborating, Harper Muse said the book follows “Marble’s determined rise on the tennis court from junior player to Grand Slam champion, her complicated love life, and her foray into espionage to avenge her husband’s death.” The novel is slated for winter 2024.
Saintclare Sells ‘Sugar’ to Bloomsbury
Amber Oliver at Bloomsbury took North American rights to Celine Saintclare’s debut novel, Sugar, Baby. The publisher said the book follows a mixed-race woman who becomes embroiled in sex work, and that the title is a reference to “sugaring”—when younger women get involved with wealthy older men. The novel examines “the blurred lines of consent and control at the intersection of class, race, and beauty.” Saintclare, who is of English and Caribbean descent and lives in Buckinghamshire, England, is beginning a masters in creative writing at Goldsmiths in 2023; she is represented by Hattie Grünewald at London’s Blair Partnership. Sugar, Baby is set for winter 2024.

Forge Nabs Sangoyomi’s Debut
O.O. Sangoyomi sold English rights to her debut novel, Masquerade, to Robert Davis at Forge Books. The publisher said the novel, which is set for 2024, is about a Yoruba woman who is determined to “rise from social pariah to power in a patriarchal society.” Masquerade “reimagines the rich history of pre-colonial West Africa” and features “themes that mirror the myth of Hades and Persephone.” Larissa Melo Pienkowski at Jill Grinberg Literary Management represented Sangoyomi, who is Nigerian American and is an undergraduate at Princeton University, majoring in English, with minors in African American studies and creative writing.

MOVIE DEALS
Writer-director-producer Drew Pearce has optioned the short story “Retro” for his production company Point of No Return Films. Originally appearing in the short story magazine Assemble Artifacts, “Retro” was written by Chris Goldberg under the pen name Max Winter; it follows a man who, after crash-landing on Earth, begins to question whether his AI is harming or helping him. Goldberg is a former literary scout at 20th Century Fox (where he was involved in rights deals for, among others, Gone Girl and The Martian) who now runs his own production company, Winter-light Pictures. (Among Winterlight’s projects is the forthcoming adaptation of Nita Prose’s January novel, The Maid, published by Ballantine.) At press time, “Retro” was on submission to publishers as part of the collection Bunny Never Sleeps and Other Stories. Samantha Haywood at the Transatlantic Agency is handling the submission.

Dan Gemeinhart’s 2019 middle grade novel The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (Holt) has been optioned by Walden Media. Andy Cohen of Grade A Entertainment has been brought on to the project as producer, while Brendan Deneen of Assemble Media will be executive producing, alongside Assemble’s Jack Heller. Alan Nevins at Renaissance Literary & Talent sold the book for film. Gemeinhart is represented by Bob Diforio at D4EO Literary Agency, who explained that the novel follows a 12-year-old named Coyote who travels the country with her dad in a school bus “avoiding their home and its painful memories.” Then, when Coyote learns her local park is about to be demolished, she has just five days to get back across the country to recover something precious from the site before it’s wiped out.

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