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NEWS NEWS / IN BRIEF


NEWS Northern indies fight Brexit effect BY NATASHA ONWUEMEZI


A consortium of British indie publishers visiting Frankfurt for the first time are in an “awkward” position as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, but will be using the fair to forge closer ties with publishers on the continent. The Northern Fiction Alliance


(NFA), founded in April, comprises four publishers based in the north of England: Comma Press, Dead Ink, Peepal Tree and And Other Stories. The initiative was backed by a £56,167 award from Arts Council England’s International Showcase Programme, which has been used to fund the NFA’s trip to Frankfurt. The visit is driven by a desire to showcase independent British fiction and the “thriving publishing scene outside” London. But Ra Page, founder and


managing editor of Manchester- Connolly


based Comma Press, believes the Brexit vote has made it a tricky fair: “It’s an awkward position to be in, trying to build bridges when, elsewhere, [UK] governmental wheels are in motion to pull them down. That’s the challenge.” Page is concerned that an “over- simplified” media narrative in the UK has painted the north-east of England as “a Brexit heartland where people have no interest in Europe


or the wider world”. He added: “No one would judge an international friend or colleague on how the majority of their compatriots voted. We wouldn’t stop speaking to our American friends if Trump got in.” Nathan Connolly, director of


Liverpool-based Dead Ink, said he saw his business as “a decidedly European publisher”, adding: “Brexit can go to hell. I’m European and Dead Ink is European. Nobody else is going to decide that for me. I will be redoubling efforts with European colleagues and showing that, at least in these northern cities, we feel a close affinity with Europe—now more than ever.” Hannah Bannister, operations manager at Peepal Tree, agreed. She said: “It’s a wonderful time to reach out to our European colleagues; the exchange of ideas and culture becomes ever more vital in these strange times.”


SAQI PICTURES REFUGEE CRISIS


Saqi Books is to publish a photographic record of the refugee crisis by photographer Giles Duley. M.d. Lynn Gaspard acquired world rights to I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See from David Godwin Associates, and will be selling translation rights at the fair. In October 2015, Duley was selected by UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi to document the crisis. More than 200 of Duley’s images accompany essays by Grandi and Robert Del Naja of British musical act Massive Attack, which has used Duley’s pictures in live shows to draw attention to the plight of refugees. Saqi will publish the title in the UK on 20th June 2017, World Refugee Day.


‘World first’ virtual reality deal struck for YA trilogy


Interactive entertainment company To Play For has acquired virtual reality (VR) rights to the Fallow Trilogy by Amy Lankester-Owen, in the first deal for the books. Sarah Such at Sarah Such Literary Agency called the deal “a world first, where a book series has been licensed specifically for a VR production”. To Play For will adapt the text to enable users to see directly into the minds of protagonists Lori and Rem. The trilogy is set in 2166, in a world in which the authorities are experimenting on teenagers. In the first book, Neuromod, élite tracker Lori is sent on


a mission to find 16-year-old Rem. Lori uses “mind fusion” to manipulate Rem’s actions and in the process realises she can merge her thoughts with his, uncovering secrets about the authorities in doing so. Guy Gadney, c.e.o. and founder of To Play For,


said: “Amy’s series has exactly the sort of characters and story worlds that we are looking to develop interactively. The books’ ‘mind-fusing’ is a perfect match for VR technology.” Lankester-Owen, formerly editorial director at Jessica Kingsley, added: “VR is an exciting area and it will be fascinating to see how it can be used to immerse people into the worlds of Rem and Lori.” Gadney, who was previously head of digital at


Penguin UK, will speak about virtual reality at the FutureBook conference in London on 2nd December.


OCTOPUS INKS SPENCER


Octopus has bagged a book of healthy recipes for over-40s, co-authored by one half of the team behind The Fast Diet. Publisher Alison Starling bought world rights to The Midlife Kitchen by Mimi Spencer (above, left) and Sam Rice (above, right) from Antony Topping at Greene & Heaton, following a “hotly contested bidding war”. The title, to be published under the Mitchell Beazley imprint, contains health-boosting recipes that offer “the best possible odds for a healthy future”. Spencer co-wrote the zeitgeisty The Fast Diet with Michael Mosley, along with an additional recipe book tied to the diet; the two have sold almost 800,000 copies through BookScan UK to date.


A TALE OF TWO RUSSIANS FROM FOURTH ESTATE


Helen Garnons-Williams at Fourth Estate has acquired journalist and translator Juliet Butler’s The Less You Know the Sounder You Sleep, based on the true story of Russian conjoined twins Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova, who were born during Stalin’s regime. Garnons- Williams acquired world rights direct from the author. The title is “a powerful story of survival and self- determination, innocence and lies”. Butler knew the twins for 15 years and interviewed them many times.


S&S’ EMPIRE MINDSET


Simon & Schuster UK and US have jointly bought journalist Jonathan Foreman’s States of Empire: Imperial Power from Sargon the Great to Google, following “a heated auction”. Iain MacGregor, non-fiction publishing director, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, with Alice Mayhew, vice-president of S&S in New York, acquiring North American rights. Foreman, a senior research fellow at London think-tank Civitas, has written for the New Yorker, FT and Guardian, and his book will investigate the “era of empires”, exploring how they have been a part of human history since the beginning of urban civilisation.


19.10.16 www.thebookseller.com RIGHTS DEALS








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