I’ve been looking into what are the hottest overseas titles being sold at this week’s Frankfurt Book Fair. David Bowie is due to deliver his illustrated book Bowie: Object to his agent Andrew Wylie in December. So Wylie is telling publishers at Frankfurt that it’s the first in a series of books by Bowie and I’m told there’s lots of interest. Why the title? Because the rock legend has assembled 100 objects from his personal archive and has written captions for them exploring his creative process. That, apparently, qualifies as a book these days.
Other titles packing heat at Frankfurt this year include:
— Wylie’s other hot title is Martin Amis’s novel State of England: Lionel Asbo, Lotto Lout and is said to feature a “ferocious antihero” who makes the author’s “previous male monsters … seem positively altruistic.” I agree with Norman Mailer: Amis a much better journalist than novelist.
— South African icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s authorised biography is getting traction. Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown is selling this book about the activist written by South African journalist Allister Sparks along with Tutu’s daughter Mpho. The book will be published worldwide exactly one year today on Tutu’s 80th birthday:
— Working Title has bought the film rights to Wife 22, Melanie Gideon’s debut novel about a woman having a midlife crisis who agrees to participate in a survey about marital happiness. Curtis Brown is selling this one too. Ballantine has already bought it for the US and HarperCollins for the UK. France, Germany and Italy are being auctioned. Given that the story is told through Facebook statuses, Google searches and online questionnaires – the modern equivalent of letter-writing in the 18th century novel — I don’t quite see how this one’s going to translate into a movie.
— Little Brown in the U.S. has bought a young adult novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Movie rights should go on the basis of the title alone. Jenn Joel at ICM in the U.S. and Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown are both repping this one.
— Doubleday has taken British Commonwealth rights, in a pre-emptive bid, to Tammy Cohen’s first novel The Mistress’s Revenge. Felicity Blunt of Curtis Brown sold a two-book deal to the Transworld imprint. Simon & Schuster has taken US rights, while an auction’s going on for France. Doubleday will publish The Mistress’s Revenge in June 2011.