Doubleday Wins Lombardo’s Hotly Contested Debut

After a nine-publisher auction, Lee Boudreaux at Doubleday acquired North American rights to Claire Lombardo’s debut novel, The Year We Were Born. Lombardo, a recent Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, was represented by Ellen Levine and Alexa Stark at Trident Media Group. Set in the upper-crust suburbs surrounding Chicago, the book, which spans four decades, follows a married couple and their four daughters. It explores, Doubleday elaborated, the “convoluted joys and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission that follows us from infancy through adulthood.” Lombardo, who graduated from Iowa in 2017, has had her short fiction published in, among other publications, Barrelhouse Magazine and Little Fiction.

Atria Nabs Swedish Kickstarter Book

Simon Stålenhag, a Swedish writer and artist, sold a book called The Electric State to Michael Braff at Atria’s Skybound Books imprint. The publisher described the book, which follows a girl traveling through an alternate 1997 with her robot, as a “narrative art book filled with incredible sci-fi vistas and looming danger.” Braff bought U.S. and Canadian rights to the novel in a preempt from Julia Angelin at the Salomonsson Agency. The project was initially pitched by Stålenhag on Kickstarter in July 2017, and wound up generating more than $350,000 in funding; it was recently optioned for film by the Russo brothers (Ant-Man).

Penguin Visits Fried’s Metropolis

In a world rights acquisition, Penguin’s Sam Raim bought Seth Fried’s novel, Metropolis. Fried was represented by Stacia Decker at Dunow, Carlson Lerner, who called Metropolis a “smart, funny, and thrilling debut speculative novel in the vein of Charles Yu and Jonathan Lethem.” In the book, a transit inspector partners with a cheeky AI to, as Decker put it, “stop a mysterious terrorist plot and save the city of Metropolis.” Fried, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, published his first book, the short story collection The Great Frustration (Soft Skull), in 2011.

Albert Closes Double at Flatiron

Melissa Albert signed a two-title North American rights deal with Sarah Barley at Flatiron Books. The first title under the agreement, set for fall 2019, will be a follow-up to her forthcoming YA fantasy, The Hazel Wood—which is coming from Flatiron later this month, has been named an IndieNext Pick for winter 2018, and has been optioned for film. The second book in the agreement, a short story collection set in the same world called Tales from the Hinterland, is tentatively slated for fall 2020. Albert was represented by Faye Bender at the Book Group.

Tobey’s ‘Game’ Goes to Wednesday

In a preempt, Sara Goodman at Macmillan’s Wednesday Books imprint bought world English rights to The God Game by Danny Tobey. Jodi Reamer at Writers House negotiated the deal with Goodman. The publisher said the book is about a group of friends in a high school computer club who “get sucked into an underground hacker’s game run by a mysterious AI that thinks it’s God.”

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