Davis ‘Crosses Border’ With Jang
Jang Jing-Sung, a poet and former member of North Korea’s United Front Department, sold a memoir to Dawn Davis called Crossing the Border. Davis bought North American rights to the book at auction, and it’s on track for a fall 2014 release from her 37 INK imprint at Simon & Schuster. Jang, who grew up in North Korea, fell in love with poetry as an adolescent, after discovering a pirated copy of Byron’s work. Recruited into a government intelligence agency, his poetry, which he continued to write while working for the state, ultimately earned him an audience with Kim Jong-Il. But, during a rare trip outside the capital, Jang saw the devastating poverty most of his countrymen lived in, and decided to defect. The book chronicles his rise in the government and his dangerous escape to South Korea. Agent Anna Stein at Aitken Alexander Associates represented Jang in the deal.

Pegasus Lands ‘NYT’ Bestselling Author
In what she’s calling Pegasus Books’ “biggest acquisition ever,” Jessica Case preempted U.S. rights to The Lost Gospel by Canadian journalist and filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and cowriter Barrie Wilson. The author’s first book, The Jesus Family Tomb, was released by HarperOne in 2007, and hit #5 on the New York Times bestseller list. Case said this deal marks a major one for Pegasus, both because of the investment (which, including the advance and the planned marketing budget, will almost hit six figures) and because of the success of Family Tomb. The Lost Gospel will decode ancient documents to, Case said, take readers “into the social, familial, and political life of Jesus.” Agent Joelle Delbourgo at Joelle Delbourgo Associates, working with the Elaine Markson Literary Agency, brokered the sale with Case.

Rodale Gets Biblical About Weight Loss
David Zulberg, a fitness specialist with an M.S. from Columbia University, sold North American rights to The Five Skinny Habits to Rodale’s editorial director, Jennifer Levesque. Rodale called Zulberg an expert on the “health teachings” of Moses Maimonides, a medieval philosopher and Torah scholar, and the book—it is subtitled, How the Wisdom of Biblical Scholars & Doctors Can Help You Lose Weight, Achieve Good Health & Change Your Life Forever—will tap into ancient notions to deliver tips that can be applied in the present. Foundry Literary + Media’s Yfat Reiss Gendell represented Zulberg, whose first book, The Life-Transforming Diet, was released in 2007 by Jewish publisher Feldheim and, Rodale said, is now in its sixth printing after selling over 20,000 copies. Five Skinny Habits, set for September 2014, will, Rodale promised, “show readers that by changing one simple habit a week they can achieve staggering results that will transform their minds and bodies.”

Last week’s column incorrectly spelled the name of author Yvette Corporon and incorrectly described her novel When the Cypress Whispers as a memoir; it is a novel. And Corporon’s agent, Nena Madonia, works for Dupree/Miller & Associates, not Jan Miller Associates.