Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Latest acquisitions: Nonfiction

Affirm Press has acquired world rights to the debut nonfiction work by journalist and activist Melinda Ham, via Rochelle Fernandez of Alex Adsett Literary. The Lucky Ones is about refugees from different generations, different countries and diverse backgrounds, with one thing in common—they all escaped persecution, found safety in Australia and built new lives. Affirm will publish The Lucky Ones in 2024.

Black Inc. has announced the latest addition to its ‘Growing Up’ nonfiction anthology series is Growing Up Indian in Australia, to be edited by Canberra-based journalist Aarti Betigeri. ‘It can take some fancy footwork to grow up Indian in Australia,’ says Betigeri. ‘We’re a visible minority, but to date, there’s been little in the arts to reflect our unique reality of shape-shifting between two cultures. Growing Up Indian in Australia will also be published in 2024.

Hachette Australia has acquired the ANZ rights to A Brilliant Life: My mother’s inspiring story of surviving the Holocaust by Australian journalist Rachelle Unreich. A Brilliant Life is described by the publisher as ‘a powerful, moving and very personal story of one woman’s survival through unimaginable horrors and the series of events that helped save her’. Hachette Australia will publish A Brilliant Life in November 2023. HarperCollins will publish the book in US and Canada at the end of October.

Hardie Grant Books has acquired world print and ebook rights to Chopsticks or Fork? by Jennifer Wong and Lin Jie Kong in a deal negotiated by Benython Oldfield of the Zeitgeist Agency. Based on the six-part ABC series created by Kong and Wong, the book ‘lovingly captures the stories of ten very different families who run Chinese restaurants’ in regional Australia. The book will be published globally in February 2024.

HarperCollins Australia has acquired ANZ rights to Holly Ringland’s book The House That Joy Built: The pleasure and power of giving ourselves permission to createvia Benython Oldfield of Zeitgeist Agency. According to the publisher, The House That Joy Built explores two big forces: the fear that can block our creativity, and the permission we can meet that fear with—to not just create, but to revel in the life-changing wonder and joy of doing so. It offers ‘a jump-start for the nervous heart of anyone whose desire to create is overruled by fear’. The House that Joy Built will be published by HarperCollins in late 2023.

HarperCollins Australia has acquired ANZ rights to The Queen is Dead, a new work of nonfiction from Stan Grant, in a deal brokered by Tara Wynne of Curtis Brown. To be published in the week of King Charles’s coronation, The Queen is Dead ‘will be a searing, viscerally powerful, emotionally unstoppable, full-throated, pull-no-punches book on the bitter legacy of colonialism for Indigenous people, the necessity for the end of monarchy in Australia and the need for a Republic, and what needs to be done—through the Voice to Parliament and beyond—to address and redress the pain and sorrow and humiliations of history’, says the publisher. HarperCollins will publish The Queen is Dead in May 2023.

HarperCollins Australia has also acquired Troy Bramston’s biography of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam. The currently untitled work will be a ‘thorough, highly readable’ biography drawing on newly discovered archival material and interviews with contemporaries, as well as conversations Bramston conducted with Whitlam himself. HarperCollins will publish the book in 2025.

NewSouth Publishing has acquired world rights to a book about the past, present and future of whales by wildlife scientist and science communicator Vanessa Pirotta. According to the publisher, the book interweaves personal anecdotes, scientific discovery and history ‘to reveal the complex and important relationship we have with these creatures of the deep’. NewSouth will publish the book in May 2024.

NewSouth has acquired world rights to Cher Tan’s debut essay collection Peripathetic: Notes on (un)belonging, which blends ‘cultural criticism, experimental writing, autotheory, (inter)net writing and literary memoir’, according to the publisher. Peripathetic will be published in May 2024.

Pantera Press has acquired world rights to Kinky History: The stories behind our intimate lives, past and present by Esmé Louise James. Drawing on James’s popular online lecture series Kinky History on TikTok, Instagram and Youtube, Kinky History ‘explores the evolution of human sexuality, from scandalous stories of the ancient world to the saucy secrets of famous figures like Albert Einstein and James Joyce’. The book also includes the SexTistics series, created alongside the author’s mother, statistician Susan James, which provides a snapshot of sexuality, gender and identity in the contemporary world. Pantera will publish Kinky History in August 2023.

Penguin Random House Australia has acquired ANZ rights to an authorised biography of Quentin Bryce by Juliet Rieden in a deal agented by Fiona Inglis at Curtis Brown. According to the publisher, the biography will cover Bryce’s personal and professional life ‘from an idyllic country childhood to becoming our first and only female Governor-General of Australia, one of the first women to be admitted to the Queensland bar, the powerful and unstoppable campaigner for the rights of women and children, feminist, mother of five and grandmother of twelve and everything in between’. The book will be published in November 2024.

Scribner Australia has acquired world rights to a new work of nonfiction by Leigh Sales. Storytellers: Questions, answers and the craft of journalism will contain 10 sections on subjects ranging from news reporting to investigative journalism, editing and the art of the interview. ‘Sales will take readers on a tour of her profession, asking top Australian journalists about how they chase their leads, survive in war zones, tell a story with pictures, and get the inside scoop,’ says the publisher.

Simon & Schuster Australia has acquired world rights to the debut nonfiction work by writer and influencer Alyssa Ho. Ho began writing publicly for her blog after finishing high school, before starting her ‘Alyssa Ho Writings’ Instagram account, which has over 20,000 followers, in 2014. In the last few years, Ho has written about anti-racism and shared her own lived experiences in outlets include Mamamia and the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as featuring on podcasts and panels. S&S will publish Ho’s book in 2024.

Ultimo Press has acquired world rights to the memoir Strange Little Girl by Melbourne-based writer, performer and zine maker Jess Knight. Described by the publisher as a ‘heartwarming, unapologetic and funny’ memoir, Strange Little Girl follows Knight’s experience growing up on a dairy farm in rural Victoria in a Mormon family. Ultimo will publish Strange Little Girl in June 2023.

Ultimo has acquired UK/Commonwealth rights to Gyan Yankovich’s debut work of nonfiction Just Friends. Rights were acquired in a ‘heated auction’ in a deal agented by Rach Crawford at Wolf Literary Services. Described by the publisher as a ‘unique look at the importance of friendship, how it buoys us, and how we can form better relationships’, Just Friends covers broad-ranging topics exploring modern friendships. Just Friends is slated for publication in February 2024.

Ultimo has acquired ANZ rights for Reckless by Marele Day, via Jenny Darling of Jenny Darling & Associates. Described by the publisher as a ‘brilliantly crafted’ ‘literary detective memoir’, Reckless is the ‘astonishing’ true story of Day’s encounter and lifelong friendship with international fugitive Jean Kay. In Day’s youth they forge an unlikely bond, and for the next 30 years correspond before reuniting, both older and wiser, in France. Reckless will be published in May 2023.

Ultimo has also acquired world rights to Tissue, the debut book by Melbourne writer Madison Griffiths. In Tissue, Griffiths ‘turns her keen eye to the topic of abortion in a deeply literary work that melds her own experience with an exploration of a procedure that is surrounded by guilt, shame and opposition’. Ultimo Press will publish Tissue in July 2023.

UQP has acquired world rights to a book by leading Indigenous psychologist Tracy Westerman outlining her life and work. Westerman is an internationally recognised psychologist specialising in culturally appropriate psychological services and treatments for First Nations people, relating to trauma, suicide prevention, child removal and the intersection of mental health issues and incarceration. UQP will publish the book in late 2023/early 2024.

Pictured: Stan Grant.


Category: Think Australian rights