UPDATE: I’m told I sold this deal way short, and that it is worth seven-figures.

The publishing crowd was buzzing Thursday about a high-6 figure acquisition of Books of the Beginning, a Young Adult trilogy by Gossip Girl exec producer John Stephens. The lit agency Writers House was keeping the publisher under wraps, but I’ve heard that Knopf Children’s Books bought the trilogy after reading the first installment, The Emerald Atlas. The agency’s foreign rights division circulated the manuscript today with a letter that called the North American publishing deal “surely the highest amount that any Writers House (and possibly even non-WH) children’s debut project has ever sold for.”  I believe the deal was worth around $800,000.  The books are set in an alternative upstate New York where there is a realm to a different world, and orphans have to find their way through it to locate a lost book of time. UTA will be selling the movie rights, and I’m told that Stephens hopes to write the script and possibly direct.