Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Uplit dominates recent fiction acquisitions

Hachette Australia has acquired world rights to two uplifting ‘family dramedies’ by Toni Jordan, author of numerous award-winning, bestselling novels, including Addition, Nine Days and Our Tiny, Useless Hearts (all Text). The deal was struck between Hachette head of fiction Rebecca Saunders and Jane Novak of Jane Novak Literary Agency.

The first novel is titled Dinner with the Schnabels (2022) and is the story of a family of ‘flawed people who often get things wrong but deep down, they love each other and they’re trying their best’. ‘No other Australian author quite matches [Jordan’s] ability to combine great comedic writing with deep insight into family, love and relationships,’ said Hachette CEO Louise Sherwin-Stark.

Simon & Schuster Australia (S&S) has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to two adult rom-coms by Jodi McAlister, author of the YA series ‘Valentine’, via Alex Adsett Literary. Here for the Right Reasons (2022) and Can I Steal You for a Second? are two ‘adorable romantic comedies’ set on the same season of a reality dating show being filmed during a pandemic. ‘Sweet, romantic and so much fun, these novels are the perfect tonic for what we’ve all been going through these past 18 months,’ said S&S commercial fiction publisher Cassandra Di Bello.

Affirm Press has acquired world rights to Australian journalist Carrie Cox’s latest novel So Many Beats of the Heart (2022)—‘a wonderfully warm and witty novel about a marriage counsellor [whose] husband abruptly leaves her’—via Lyn Tranter at Australian Literary Management. ‘Carrie Cox’s writing is exactly what we’re looking for—smart, funny uplit which, for all its lightness of touch, shares some deeply insightful truths about humanity, love and relationships,’ said Affirm commercial publisher Kelly Doust.

Hachette Australia has acquired ANZ rights to Sydney author Dianne Yarwood’s debut novel The Wakes (2023) in a ‘hotly contested’ international auction. The six-figure, two-book deal was struck with Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management, while UK and Commonwealth rights (ex ANZ) were sold to Francesca Main at Phoenix, an imprint of Orion. This ‘wry, moving and uplifting novel’ follows the lives of two strangers: Clare, who is recently separated and working in her neighbour’s funeral catering business; and Chris, an emergency doctor who ‘feels compelled to attend the occasional wake’. Hachette fiction publisher Rebecca Saunders described the novel as ‘emotionally rich, warm-hearted and funny’.


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