Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Stella Prize-winning memoir sold to US, Canada

US and Canadian rights to the Stella Prize-winning memoir The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie (Fourth Estate) have sold to Knopf and Doubleday Canada, respectively. The Erratics follows two daughters who return home to Canada to care for their outlandishly tyrannical mother and their emotionally terrorised father.

Brow Books has sold North American rights to Jamie Marina Lau’s debut novel Pink Mountain on Locust Island to Coffee House Press. ‘Pink Mountain on Locust Island is like nothing else I’ve read,’ said Coffee House Press acquiring editor Lizzie Davis. ‘Urban life, the experience of growing up in a diasporic community, and our responsibilities to ourselves and one another in and outside of art are unpacked here with insight and tenderness.’ Brow Books has recently acquired two more novels from Lau.


Scribe has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Australian writer Madeleine Ryan’s debut literary novel A Room Called Earth, which follows a woman on the autism spectrum as she gets ready to go to a party, arrives at the party, feels overwhelmed, leaves, but then returns. The novel doesn’t mention autism, with Ryan observing: ‘I’m interested in the humanity beneath these kinds of labels, which has a habit of getting lost. I want to take readers on an adventure inside the mind of a young woman who is magical, sensitive, and honest.’

Scribe has also acquired world rights to a new novel by author Patrick Allington called Rise and Shine, ‘a Kafkaesque fable of hope about a future where eight billion souls have perished, and the survivors, huddled in the city-states of Rise and Shine, wage perpetual war against each other’. A university lecturer in English and creative writing, Allington was longlisted for the 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award for his novel Figurehead (Black Inc.).

Affirm Press has acquired ANZ rights to Australian writer Anna Downes’ debut thriller The Safe Place in a two-book deal, with US, UK & Commonwealth, Dutch, Russian, Hungarian, Croatian and German rights already sold. The Safe Place tells the story of a struggling actor who is offered a job working for a wealthy family on their remote estate in France.

Screen adaptations

Trent Dalton’s multi-award-winning novel Boy Swallows Universe (Fourth Estate) will be adapted into an international TV drama, with screen rights acquired by US-based production company Anonymous Content and its UK spin-off Chapter One, in partnership with Australian film production company Hopscotch Features and Australian actor and producer Joel Edgerton. Rights to the book have been sold in 34 English-language and translation territories.

Holly Throsby’s small-town mystery Goodwood (Allen & Unwin) is being adapted for TV by Australian broadcaster ABC and ABC Studios International. Throsby said: ‘One of the central themes of Goodwood is the relationships between people, especially between strong women. It is so fitting, and an absolute dream for me, to have such an incredible group of women in charge of bringing my book to life on screen.’

A TV adaptation of Holly Ringland’s novel The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Fourth Estate)—which has sold to over 24 territories—has received story development funding from Screen Australia. The eight-part series—about a young girl who is taken in by her estranged grandmother after a family tragedy—will be produced by Australian production company Made Up Stories.

Cascade Films has acquired the film adaptation rights to Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell’s nonfiction book Half the Perfect World: Writers, Dreamers and Drifters on Hydra, 1955–1964 (Monash University Publishing), which tells the story of a group of writers and artists, including George Johnston, Charmian Clift, Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen, ‘searching, on an idyllic Greek isle, for a more stimulating and real existence than the treadmill of ordinary life’.

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Category: Think Australian newsletter Rights sales