Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Two debut novels picked up in US, UK

Two debut novels—Ella Baxter’s New Animal and Peter Papathanasiou’s forthcoming crime fiction The Stoning—have recently been acquired by publishers in the US and UK.

US rights to Ella Baxter’s New Animal (Allen & Unwin) have been sold to Two Dollar Radio by The Book Group on behalf of Grace Heifetz at Left Bank Literary, while UK rights have been sold to Picador via John Ash at PEW Literary. New Animal follows a young woman who works as a cosmetician in her family’s mortuary and falls in with a regional BDSM community after experiencing tragedy. Television rights have also been optioned by Lingo Pictures.

Transit Lounge has sold world English-language rights (ex North America/ANZ) to Papathanasiou’s debut The Stoning to MacLehose Press/Quercus, in a deal brokered by Martin Shaw at Shaw Literary. The novel introduces Greek–Australian detective George Manolis as he investigates a crime in a small Australian outback town, with suspicions falling on the inmates of a nearby detention centre and the local Aboriginal community. ‘Pete’s beautifully achieved, issues-driven crime novel has an international relevance that immediately appealed,’ said MacLehose Press associate publisher Katharina Bielenberg. The Australian and UK editions will be published simultaneously in October 2021.

In nonfiction, Pan Macmillan Australia has sold US and UK rights to the debut nonfiction title Heartsick by writer and podcaster Jessie Stephens after ‘a highly contested auction’. US rights were sold to Henry Holt in a deal negotiated by Dan Lazar at Writers House and UK rights were sold to Macmillan UK, which is also representing translation rights. A work of narrative nonfiction, Heartsick weaves together ‘three stories of the ways that love can bruise, break and build us’ and is based on extensive interviews conducted by Stephens after her own relationship break-up.

Black Inc. has sold world English-language rights (ex ANZ) to Return to Uluru by Mark McKenna to Stephen Morrow at Dutton, Penguin USA. McKenna’s history–true crime hybrid addresses the actions of Bill McKinnon, a Northern Territory police officer who shot and killed unarmed Indigenous man Yokununna at Uluru in 1934, and the resultant trial. Black Inc. rights and contracts manager Erin Sandiford told Think Australian: ‘In rights, you often hear that a book is “too Australian” to work overseas. So the fact that Stephen Morrow and his team at Dutton, Penguin US are able to see that this unequivocally Australian story has the power to shed light on all paths to truth-telling, justice and reconciliation around the world feels like an important step for Australia’s truth-telling canon.’ The US edition will publish in 2022.

North American rights to Anwen Crawford’s nonfiction book No Document (Giramondo) have sold to US publisher Transit Books. No Document is ‘an urgent, groundbreaking book-length essay that reimagines the boundaries that divide us—as people, nations and species—and asks how we can create forms of solidarity that endure’. Transit will publish the book in 2022. Remaining rights are held by Giramondo, represented by Alexandra Christie at Wylie Agency.

Black Inc. has sold UK/Commonwealth audio rights to Linda Jaivin’s The Shortest History of China to Tantor. The book—pitched as a ‘pacy history of China that can be read in an afternoon, but will transform your perspective for a lifetime’—has previously sold to North America (The Experiment), Japan (Tokyo Shoseki Co), Portugal (Dom Quixote), Greece (Metaichmio), Bulgaria (Prozoretz), Italy (Giunti) and UK/Commonwealth ex ANZ (Old Street Publishing).


Category: Think Australian newsletter Rights sales