Morrow Nabs Hot Debut, Re-Ups Kline
Carrie Feron at William Morrow took North American rights, for mid–six figures, to Susan Crawford’s debut novel, The Pocket Wife. Agent Jenny Bent, who has an eponymous shingle, represented Crawford, overseeing a seven-round, seven-bidder auction for the work. Bent said the novel is a “stylish thriller in the tradition of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind.” In the novel, Crawford follows a woman, Dana Catrell, whose neighbor is violently murdered. The last person to see the victim, Catrell is experiencing mania brought on by bipolar disorder; unable to remember the fateful day, Catrell must race to clear her name, and stay sane, as she becomes the chief suspect. Crawford teaches creative writing in Atlanta and has won, four times, the Atlanta Writers Club Award.
In a second deal coming out of William Morrow this week, Christina Baker Kline, who hit bestseller lists with her fifth novel, Orphan Train, struck a new two-book, world-rights deal with her longstanding publisher. Orphan Train was published last year and spent 21 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list; Morrow said there are currently 550,000 copies of the title in circulation, after 19 printings. Kline’s debut, Sweet Water (also published by HarperCollins), was released in 1993. Both books in the new deal are currently untitled. Morrow said the first will be about the “making of” Christina’s World, the Andrew Wyeth painting. Morrow’s Kate Nintzel brokered the deal with agent Geri Thoma at Writers House.
O’Connor Channels Dickinson for Penguin
Penguin’s Tara Singh Carlson took U.S. rights, at auction, to Nuala O’Connor’s debut novel, Miss Emily. Grainne Fox at Fletcher & Company brokered the deal, and said the novel is reminiscent of The Girl with the Pearl Earring. The work is told through the dueling perspectives of Emily Dickinson and her Irish maid, Ada Concannon, as their lives intertwine. Adrienne Kerr at Penguin Canada preempted Canadian rights to the book.
Polk Turns Op-Ed into Memoir
Sam Polk, Wall Street trader turned nonprofit founder, sold a currently untitled memoir, based on a recent New York Times Op-Ed, to Daniel Burgess at Scribner. In a January piece called “For the Love of Money,” Polk talked about wealth obsession on Wall Street, framing it through his own experience becoming “addicted” to making ever more money. After the piece went viral—the media attention landed Polk, among other places, on the Today Show—agent Sam Stoloff, at Frances Goldin Literary, went out with a proposal for a memoir. The book is tentatively set for spring 2015, and will pick up on Polk’s story of leaving behind a lucrative career (his final bonus was well over $3 million) to become a do-gooder, starting a nonprofit called Groceryships that helps indigent families struggling with obesity.
Roberts’s 'New Yorkers' Heading to Bloomsbury
New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts sold world English rights, in a two-book deal, to The New Yorkers, and A History of New York in 25 Buildings, to Nancy Miller at Bloomsbury. Agent Andrew Blauner, at Blauner Books Literary, represented Roberts; the first book is subtitled A Biography of the World’s Greatest City and the 25 People You’ve Never Heard of Who Helped Shape It. Bloomsbury said New Yorkers will be a history of the metropolis told through a “narrative of its colorful, little-known, most influential characters.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article said there are 55,000 copies of Christina Baker Kline's novel Orphan Train in circulation; there are 550,000 in circulation.