Merkin Closes Quad at FSG

Ileene Smith at Farrar, Straus and Giroux took world English rights to four new books by essayist/novelist Daphne Merkin. Markus Hoffman at Regal Literary represented Merkin. The first book in the deal, slated for August 2014, will be an essay collection called The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Importance of Handbags, and Other Cultural Inquiries. The second title, the memoir My Suicide Life, about Merkin’s enduring battle with depression, is set for 2015. Also included is an erotic novel called Twenty-Two Minutes of Unconditional Love. Merkin has contributed to, among other publications, the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine; The Fame Lunches will be her first book since 1997.

Da Capo Lands Son of Anarchy

Da Capo Press executive editor Ben Schafer bought world rights to actor Ron Perlman’s memoir, Easy Street—The Hard Way. Katherine Latshaw at Folio Literary Management brokered the deal for the character actor, who is currently starring in the FX cable series Sons of Anarchy. In the book, Perlman, who has been a working actor for over 40 years, Da Capo said, will share “his story of rising from the streets of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, enduring incredible hardships, and the onslaught of naysayers who taunted him for his distinctive looks.”

Rona Jaffe Winner to Norton

Kristin Valdez Quade, who recently won a 2013 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, has just closed a two-book deal with Norton. Jill Bialosky bought North American rights to a story collection and debut novel from Denise Shannon, who has an eponymous literary agency. The collection is called Jubilee: Stories and the novel is titled Via Dolorosa; the latter is set in a small New Mexico town and, the agency said, explores “the painful complexities of family obligation and the limitations of faith.”

‘China Study’ Doc to Rodale

Coauthor of the bestseller The China Study, Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D., sold The Campbell Plan to Rodale v-p and publisher Mary Ann Naples and editorial director Jennifer Levesque. The China Study is a nutrition guide linking diet to disease prevention; Campbell wrote the book with his father, T. Colin Campbell; it was published by BenBella Books in 2004 and has since sold over one million copies. The new title, set for January 2015, will be a companion to The China Study, featuring, per Rodale, “cutting-edge nutritional research” and “crucial answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns... on subjects ranging from fish, gluten, GMOS, and adolescent nutrition.” Campbell is a board-certified family physician who teaches at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry; he was represented by Celeste Fine at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Razorbill Buys Newbie’s Debut

For Penguin Young Readers Group’s Razorbill imprint, assistant editor Elizabeth Tingue took world English rights, in a two-book deal, to recent Harvard graduate Meredith Moore’s debut novel, Captivating. Moore, who Razorbill simply called a “history buff and world traveler,” was represented by Alexandra Machinist at Janklow & Nesbit. The book is about a girl named Vivian who was raised with one goal: to exact vengeance on the man who broke her mother’s heart two decades earlier. Enrolled at an English boarding school, Vivian targets an innocent senior named Ben as part of the revenge plot. But, Razorbill said, as the plan is set into motion, Vivian “starts to uncover secrets so dark and deadly that they threaten to unravel the very being that Mother worked so hard to create.”

SMP Invests in Illustrated Debut

At St. Martin’s Press, Hope Dellon preempted North American rights, for six figures, to Erika Swyler’s debut novel, The Book of Speculation. The title is illustrated and follows a group of traveling circus performers searching for the book that holds the answers to the mysterious curse that haunts them. SMP said the work is “in the tradition of The Night Circus and A Discovery of Witches.” Michelle Brower at Folio Literary Management represented Swyler and Folio has sold foreign rights to the title in Germany, Italy, Turkey, and the Netherlands. SMP has Speculation set for winter 2015.


Kent Carroll at Europa Editions bought North American rights to Wendy Jones’s novel, The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals. Sophie Brewer at London’s Constable & Robinson brokered the deal for Jones, and the title is set for a March 2014 U.S. release. Europa said the book is about a “romantic mishap” that “takes on darker tones.” In the U.K., the novel has been optioned for a BBC miniseries by the producers of Downton Abbey.

Chronicle’s Victoria Rock took world rights to Ben Mantle’s illustrated book, The Steam Train. Kirsten Hall at the Bright Agency represented Mantle, and the title, set for spring 2015, is his first as author/illustrator. The book, Hall said, is about “a young boy’s discovery that leads to an unusually satisfying journey.”