Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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‘No Friend but the Mountains’ sells into nine territories

Writer, journalist and Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani’s award-winning memoir No Friend but the Mountains (Picador) has been sold in nine territories, including the US and the UK. Boochani, who is being detained on Manus Island as part of the Australian government’s offshore detention of asylum seekers, wrote the book in secret and sent it to translator Omid Tofighian via WhatsApp messages. Picador UK editor Kishani Widyaratna said of the acquisition: ‘This is a book that simply shouldn’t exist and yet it does, thanks to the determination of Behrouz Boochani and everyone involved to shine a light on this struggle.’

Charlotte Wood’s forthcoming novel The Weekend (Allen & Unwin)—her first since her Stella Prize-winning The Natural Way of Things—has been sold to Riverhead in the US and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK. The novel follows three elderly friends who gather at a house by the ocean to farewell a friend who has passed away. However, disaster strikes and secrets are revealed. W&N commissioning editor Federico Andornino said: ‘The Weekend is literary fiction with huge appeal, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies as written by Alice Munro.’

Zeitgeist Agency has sold Dutch- and German-language rights to Australian-born, Oxford-based author Sophie Hardcastle’s forthcoming novel Below Deck—which explores the ‘vagaries of consent’—to Uitgeverij Prometheus and Kein & Aber respectively. Allen & Unwin recently acquired Australian and New Zealand rights to the book at auction for a six-figure sum.

Black Inc. has sold North American rights to On Shirley Hazzard: Writers on Writers by Michelle de Kretser to Catapult (USA/Canada), which has ‘put a spotlight’ on the Black Inc.’s ‘Writers on Writers’ series, according to Black Inc. international publishing director Sophy Williams.

Exisle Publishing has sold Korean-language rights to Stop Talking, Start Influencing by Jared Cooney Horvath, which ‘draws on the author’s 15 years of experience in neuroscience and education to outline 12 principles of how people learn’.


Penguin Random House has acquired Australia and New Zealand rights to a new novel by internationally bestselling author Monica McInerney, called The Godmothers. The novel is pitched as a ‘heartfelt story about strong women and fractured families’.

HarperCollins Australia has acquired world rights to the first book in eight years by author Diane Armstrong. Titled The Collaborator and based on a true story set in WWII Hungary, the novel explores ‘the moral complexities and human cost of a daring act’, after a Jewish businessman rescues thousands of Budapest Jews from concentration camps. Armstrong is a child Holocaust survivor who arrived in Australia in 1948.

Hachette Australia and Hodder & Stoughton have jointly acquired British Commonwealth rights to a new ‘high-concept, cross-genre’ novel by author Max Barry. Hodder & Stoughton associate publisher Oliver Johnson said the book ‘combines pulse-pounding action with profound questions about where the hell our species is going, and what it means to give up so much autonomy to algorithms we barely understand’.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards unpublished manuscript prize has a reputation for unearthing critical and commercial successes. A shortlisted manuscript and another highly commended manuscript for this year’s prize have recently been acquired for publication. Affirm Press has acquired world rights to Wayne Marshall’s debut short story collection, called Shirl, which comprises a range of what-if scenarios involving themes of Australiana, which are ‘taken to fabulist and comedic extremes’. Scribe has acquired world rights to Luke Horton’s debut novel The Fogging, set in Bali, which offers a ‘compelling tale of the slow disintegration of a relationship and the unravelling of a man’.

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Category: Think Australian newsletter Rights sales