Harper Voyager Signs First Memoir

HarperCollins’s science fiction imprint, Harper Voyager, made a first with its acquisition of J. Michael Straczynski’s Saved by Superman. The book, to which David Pomerico took world English rights, will be the first memoir that Voyager has published. Straczynski has written in a variety of styles (including screenplays, comics, and novels) and is arguably best known as the creator of the TV series Babylon 5. The memoir, Voyager said, chronicles his experience “growing up surrounded by poverty, violence, alcoholism and domestic abuse” and how he “wrote his way out of some of [those] harrowing conditions.” Neil Gaiman is contributing a foreword to the book, which was sold by Emma Parry at Janklow Nesbit Associates and is slated for a 2019 release.

Bakalian’s ‘Guide’ to Aladdin

Emmy-winning writer Peter Bakalian’s parody Obey! The Secret Parents’ Guide to Hacking Your Kids was sold in a world English rights agreement to Amy Cloud at Simon Schuster’s Aladdin imprint. Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio, who brokered the deal, said the “subversive” YA novel follows a young teen who “discovers a secret diabolical parenting manual and, risking the retaliation of FART (Families Against Rotten Teens), exposes it to the world and triggers a kid rebellion.” The book is set for a spring 2019 publication.

‘Vox’ to Berkley

In a world English rights sale, Cindy Hwang at Berkley bought Christina Dalcher’s debut, Vox. The publisher compared the novel to dystopian works like The Handmaid’s Tale and Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks; it’s set in a near future when women are allowed to speak only 100 words a day and are forbidden from having jobs. Hwang said the novel is a “subversive” work that “vibrates with an energy and anger that taps into the resistance and #MeToo movements that have emerged since last year’s presidential election.” Dalcher, who was represented by Laura Bradford at the Bradford Literary Agency, teaches at the Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Va. The book is set for release in September.

Indie Publishers Sell Collection to Crown Kids

The founders of the independent publisher Just Us Books, Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, sold a middle grade anthology called We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices to Phoebe Yeh at Crown Books for Young Readers. The husband-and-wife team behind the multicultural New Jersey–based press compiled and edited the book, which features essays, poems, and illustrations about activism. Contributors include Kwame Alexander, Ellen Oh, Jason Reynolds, and Jacqueline Woodson. The couple, who represented themselves in the deal, sold world rights to the book, which is set to be released in September.

Briefs

The Charm Bracelet by Wade Rouse, writing under the pseudonym Viola Shipman, was acquired by Susan Swinwood at Graydon House in a three-book deal. Wendy Sherman, who has an eponymous shingle, represented Rouse in the North American rights agreement. Sherman said the novel follows “a woman who, in the wake of her divorce, quits her job, abandons city life, and attempts to convert her parents’ aging lakeside vacation home into a bed and breakfast. The renovation unearths a surprising history, and myriad guests make her doubt her sanity and decision.”

Alyson Heller at Aladdin took North American rights to Barbara Dee’s middle grade novel How to Survive Quicksand in a two-book deal. Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management, who negotiated the sale on Dee’s behalf, said the book is about a seventh grader whose family is upended after her brother is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Survive is set for fall 2019, and the currently untitled second middle grade novel in the agreement is scheduled for fall 2020.

For Gallery Books, Jeremy Ruby Strauss nabbed world rights to Heather B. Armstrong’s memoir The Valedictorian of Being Dead. Armstrong, an author (It Sucked and Then I Cried) and blogger at Dooce, sold the book directly to Strauss. He called the work “an honest and irreverent” take on “her experience as one of only a few people to participate in an experimental study involving 10 rounds of chemically induced brain death as a treatment for depression.” Valedictorian is set for February 2019.