LBF 2019: Six-Figure Deals & Audiobook Boom, while Non-Fiction soars

Another brilliant chapter of The London Book Fair 2019

  • Holly Bourne and UK Book Blog Awards close The London Book Fair 2019
  • Six-Figure Deals & Audiobook Boom, while Non-Fiction soars

London. 14 March 2019. The London Book Fair has concluded its third and final day as publishers, authors, writers and readers from over 130 countries gathered for the 48th Fair.

Top Left to Bottom Right: Children’s Author of the Day Holly Bourne on The Bourne Bridge; Author Ian McEwan at the Fair; Illustrator of the Fair David McKee celebrates 30 years of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant; Poet of the Fair Raymond Antrobus.

Highlights from Day Three of the Fair:

Author of the Day Holly Bourne held drinks at The Bourne Bridge to mark the release of her new book The Places I’ve Cried in Public, and gave a talk at the English PEN Literary Salon, discussing her career and life as a YA author. She also spoke to Caroline O’Donoghue as part of a live recording of the Sentimental Garbage podcast.

The winners of the UK Book Blog Awards were announced today, hosted by Holly Bourne. Book Podcaster of the Year (won by Mostly Lit) was added to the three returning categories: Book Blogger (won by What’s Hot?), Bookstagrammer (won by @ab_reads), and BookTuber (won by Rose Reads).

Lulu Allison was the winner of The Write Stuff, a Dragon’s Den-style panel event that saw authors pitch their books to a panel of literary agents for the chance to win a follow-up meeting with an agent. Allison won for her book, Salt Lick, a dystopian drama set in Norfolk.

Inaugural Literary Translator for the Fair, Jeremy Tiang, was interviewed by Chief Executive of the National Centre for Writing, Chris Gribble, as part of the Fair’s programming around the challenges and evolution of literary translation.

Lara Prescott, debut author of the upcoming The Secrets We Kept (September 2019), which has already been optioned by the producers of La La Land, spoke on the Fireside Chats @ The Podcast Theatre to discuss her experiences as a writer.

Poet and author Orna Ross launched her new poetry collection Keepers with a live reading at Poet’s Corner.

The London Book Fair 2019 closed on a high today, with a raft of six-figure deals across the week, a buoyant atmosphere, and attendees describing the Fair as “positive” and “inspiring”.

Over 130 countries were represented at the 48th Fair, with this year’s international VIP line-up including: Ian McEwan, E.L. James, Karin Slaughter, Deborah Moggach, David McKee, Caryl Phillips, Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Holly Bourne, Raymond Antrobus, Simone Buchholz, Stefan Hertmans, Antoine Laurain, Lara Prescott, Guzel Yakhina, Meik Wiking, Rachel Abbott, Jessie Greengrass, Intan Paramaditha, Nirwan Dewanto, Sharlene Teo, Daisy Buchanan, Orna Ross, Adele Parks, Caroline O’Donoghue, Shahroo Izadi, Boyd Tonkin, Jess Kidd and Claire McGlasson.

LANDMARK LAUNCHES

There were a number of major author and publisher announcements at this year’s Fair, including:

  • TLS announced the launch of it’s first book imprint, TLS Books, which will bring out its first titles in November 2019.
  • Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, authors of the world’s bestselling vegan cookbook, BOSH! held a vegan breakfast ahead of the release of their second book BISH BASH BOSH!
  • Award-winning broadcaster and journalist Emma Barnett appeared at the Fair ahead of the release of her upcoming book (September 2019, HQ).
  • Chronicle Books revealed that its new nonfiction imprint headed by Mark Tauber will be called Chronicle Prism. Tauber joined Chronicle Books last fall to create the imprint, which will publish narrative, prescriptive, and inspirational nonfiction.

HOT TOPIC: BREXIT

The uncertainty of Brexit on the publishing and wider creative industries continued to be one of the most talked about topics at this year’s Fair.

 THE TOP DEALS OF THE LONDON BOOK FAIR 2019

Big name deals, six-figure sums, and cross-media rights sales were the order of the day at LBF 2019, with highlights including:

  • LBF’s Poet of the Fair Raymond Antrobus signed his first picture book deal with Walker. Maria Tunney signed the world rights of Can Bears Ski? from The Good Literary Agency.
  • LBF Author of the Day Holly Bourne is writing YA novel What Magic is This? for Barrington Stoke after the world rights were sold to editorial director Ailsa Bathgate from Madeleine Milburn. (Young adult)
  • Trapeze editorial director Phoebe Morgan won Robin Morgan Bentley’s The Wreckage, about male mental health, acquiring UK and Commonwealth rights in a two-book deal. (Adult Fiction)
  • Bloomberg’s UK political correspondent Svenja O’Donnell’s book about her grandmother’s secret life during the Second World War was landed by Ebury in a five-publisher auction, with Editor Clare Bullock winning UK and Commonwealth rights from Felicity Bryan Associates. (Historical – adult fiction)
  • Writer and activist Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue, a focus on the daily, political and economic realities faced by trans people in the UK, had its UK and Commonwealth rights snapped by Allen Lane at a five-publisher auction. (non-fiction)
  • Jeffrey Deaver is set to write his first short story collection Misdirection for HarperCollins after winning the UK and Commonwealth rights from Curtis Brown.
  • Andrew Ridgeley’s autobiography, about life as one half of legendary pop band Wham!, was won by Penguin Random House, obtaining the world English-language rights from PFD.
  • The autobiography of British trip-hop icon Tricky was sold to Bonnier Books UK imprint Blink, with commissioning editor Kerri Sharp acquiring the world rights from K7 music in Berlin.
  • Fourth Estate has poached Sarah Winman from Headline in a two-book deal. The UK and Commonwealth rights from her current untitled novel was sold by Caskie Mushens. (adult fiction)
  • Fourth Estate has bagged the world, all-language rights to 1-2-3-4: The Beatles in Time by Private Eye parodist Craig Brown in a deal brokered directly with the author. (non-fiction)

 Please find more details and a breakdown of key deals by genre further below*

INDONESIA MARKET FOCUS

With Indonesia featured as the Market Focus country, Indonesian writing and culture were at the heart of The London Book Fair this year. Twelve of the most prominent and talented contemporary Indonesian writers – including the Market Focus Author of the Day Seno Gumira Ajidarma, and Intan Paramaditha and Nirwan Dewanto – discussed themes such as gender and sexuality, spirituality and politics. A number of deals have been closed between Indonesian and international publishers, including a series of six titles which were sold from Asta Ilmu Publishing to Singapore Asia Publishers. The distribution of several English Language editions of Indonesian titles has been agreed in the US, Italy, India and Australia. Outside of literary deals a global distribution deal has been agreed from AMIKOM films to Amazon UK for the famous Battle of Surabaya. 

NIELSEN REPORTED ‘BOOK BOOM’ AT QUANTUM CONFERENCE

At The London Book Fair Quantum Conference, Nielsen’s Books & Consumers annual survey reported that the print market held steady in 2018, with growth of 3%. The audiobook boom was also reported to have continued, with sales up 13 per cent since 2017 and up 87% since 2014. Retaining their position as the fastest-growing publishing format, audiobooks now account for five per cent of all book purchases. Non-fiction was up across both adult and children, now accounting for 40 per cent of all adult books sold.

INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS

The winners of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards were announced on the first night of the Fair, with Espoo Library in Finland crowned Library of the Year, Kiev Book Arsenal Festival named Literary Festival of the Year, and the LBF Simon Master Chairman’s Award awarded to Jessica Kingsley. Swedish publisher Dorothea Bromberg received the 2019 London Book Fair’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The full list of winners is available here.

 AUTHOR HQ

As ever, it was standing room only at Author HQ throughout the Fair. The packed line-up concluded with the now firmly established Write Stuff competition, where six authors pitch to a panel of agents. This year’s winner was Lulu Allison for her book Salt Lick, a dystopian drama set in Norfolk.

GANDHI 150

To celebrate 150 years since Gandhi’s birth, The Government of India’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) had a pavilion at LBF based on the theme of [email protected], with many engaging features including a virtual exhibition on “Gandhi and London”, a short biographic film, pictures, important concepts, and quiz on the life of Mahatma. It included an interactive timeline depicting life of Mahatma Gandhi, a Photo Booth with various backgrounds and a 3D Video Wall.

 *LBF Top Deals 2019

 Adult Fiction

 Booker prize winner Graham Swift’s new novel will be published by Scribner, who have acquired the rights to his backlist. His novel Here We Are had its UK and Commonwealth, and audio, rights bought by publisher Ian Chapman.

  • Tracey Buchanan’s The Weight of Silence and The Woman in the Woods was brokered in a two-book deal by Amazon Publishing imprint Lake Union, securing world English-language rights.
  • Trapeze editorial director Phoebe Morgan won Robin Morgan Bentley’s The Wreckage, about male mental health, acquiring UK and Commonwealth rights in a two-book deal.
  • Michael Joseph lands Stephanie Wrobel’s debut The Recovery of Rose Gold, a suspense novel about Munchausen syndrome at an eight-way auction. US rights were sold to Amanda Bergeron at Penguin, with Canadian rights also sold and pre-empts in Germany, Italy and Hungary.
  • Jeffrey Deaver is set to write his first short story collection Misdirection for HarperCollins after winning the UK and Commonwealth rights from Curtis Brown.
  • Borough Press won the rights to Carole Johnstone’s debut Mirrorland in a six-figure deal, acquiring UK and Commonwealth rights.
  • Simon and Schuster US acquired North American rights at Janklow US from Allison Hunter.
  • Kate Bradley’s debut thriller To Keep You Safe was snapped up by Zaffre in a two book deal that bought its world rights from Gregory and Co, a division of The David Higham Agency.
  • Fourth Estate has poached Sarah Winman from Headline in a two-book deal. The UK and Commonwealth rights from her current untitled novel was sold by Caskie Mushens.
  • In a joint US and UK deal, Pan Macmillan and Farrar, Straus and Giroux have acquired the North American, UK and Commonwealth English-language rights to Dolores Prato’s Giu’ La Piazza Non C’e’nessuno (Nobody in the Square) from Quodlibet Edizioni.
  • Anderson Press has bought the world rights to The Button Back by Sally Nichols which was sold into eight territories including the US and China.
  • Curtis Brown have sold the UK and Commonwealth rights of three crime novels by Anthony Horowitz to Century and Arrow publisher Selina Walker, a follow up to Magpie Murders.
  • Romance novelist Jo Thomas is moving to Transworld after editorial director Francesca Best bought the UK and Commonwealth rights from David Headey at DHH.
  • Viking has won the UK and Commonwealth rights at the British auction for Nazanine Hozar’s Aria from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.
  • Debut novelist Abi Dare is set to publish The Girl with the Louding Voice through Hodder and Stoughton imprint Sceptre who acquired the UK and Commercial rights from Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown after a five-way auction.
  • Firefly Press has obtained the world rights to The Velvet Fox, a sequel to Catherine Fisher’s novel The Clockwork Crow, due in October.

Young Adult/Children’s Fiction

 Author of the Day Holly Bourne is writing YA novel What Magic is This? for Barrington Stoke after the world rights were sold to editorial director Ailsa Bathgate from Madeleine Milburn.

  • YA author Laura Jarratt has struck a deal with Trapeze, securing the world, all-language rights to her first adult book Mother.
  • Faber Children’s will publisher Irish writer and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick’s first young adult novel The Year the Dolphin Came. The world rights were attained by Annie Eaton, Faber Children’s editorial director.
  • LBF’s Poet of the Fair Raymond Antrobus signed his first picture book deal with Walker. Maria Tunney signed the world rights of Can Bears Ski? from The Good Literary Agency.

Non-Fiction

  • A biography of Sir Ian McKellen has been picked up Weidenfeld and Nicolson chairman Alan Samson who snapped up the world rights from Peter Cox at Redhammer Management.
  • Hodder and Stoughton has won the world English-language rights to Lindsay McCrae’s account of spending a year in Antartica filming emperor penguins for BBC series Dynasties.
  • Allen and Unwin won the Australasian rights to Sophie Hardcastle’s Below Deck in a six-figure deal.
  • Quercus Non-fiction publisher Katy Follain has landed the world rights for Caroline Wood’s Last Christmas, and bought music journalist Pete Paphides’ memoir Broken Geek, with its Commonwealth and UK rights secured from Jo Unwin at JULA.
  • Writer and activist Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue, a focus on the daily, political and economic realities faced by trans people in the UK, had its UK and Commonwealth rights snapped by Allen Lane at a five-publisher auction.
  • Publisher Daniel Crewe of Viking acquired the world rights to a book about alien behaviours by Dr Arik Kershenbaum titled The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals Reveal about Aliens.
  • Pan Macmillan has won the world rights to two books by comedy writer Alexandra Potter about the pressures of hitting 40 in an “Instagram-perfect” world, the first of which will be published in spring 2020.
  • Bloomberg’s UK political correspondent Svenja O’Donnell’s book about her grandmother’s secret life during the Second World War was landed by Ebury in a five-publisher auction, with Editor Clare Bullock winning UK and Commonwealth rights from Felicity Bryan Associates.
  • The biography of John Lennon by Lesley Ann-Jones, chronicling his life and death, has been awarded to Bonnier imprint John Blake, acquiring its world and all-language rights.
  • Scribe has secured the UK and Commonwealth rights to The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals, co-authored by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Engineer and journalist Ipsita Agarwal’s feminist account of how Indian scientists sent a rocket to Mars was acquired by Seven Dials, with publisher Amanda Harris securing the UK and Commonwealth rights to With a Whisper in the Dark.
  • Canongate acquired the world and audio rights to Gavin Frances’ Island Dreams from Jenny Brown Associates.
  • The autobiography of British trip-hop icon Tricky was sold to Bonnier Books UK imprint Blink, with commissioning editor Kerri Sharp acquiring the world rights from K7 music in Berlin.
  • Wildfire editor Shoaib Rokadiya has pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights to They: Dispatches from a Disunited Kingdom by writer and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor, a book about the divisions and tensions between Muslims and Non-Muslims in the UK.
  • Fourth Estate has bagged the world, all-language rights to 1-2-3-4: The Beatles in Time by Private Eye parodist Craig Brown in a deal brokered directly with the author.
  • Writing couple Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson’s book Where’s My Happy Ending had its world rights sold to Pan Macmillan imprint Bluebird, set to be released in February 2020.
  • Andrew Ridgeley’s autobiography, about life as one half of legendary pop band Wham!, was won by Penguin Random House, obtaining the world English-language rights from PFD.
  • Everyday Ubuntu, an exploration of South African philosophy, by Mungi Ngomane, the granddaughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has had its world rights acquired by Transworld.
  • Bloomsbury publishing director Alexis Kirschbaum has won the UK and Commonwealth rights to a non-fiction title by Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins.
  • Six Weeks to Zero Waste: A Simple Plan for Life by Kate Arnell was sold to Octopus publishing director Stephanie Jackson who bought the world, all-language rights from Zoe Ross at United Agents.
  • Rob Sears’ third humour title Choose Your Own Apocalypse with Kim Jong-Un and Friends will be published by Canongate after commissioning editor Hannah Knowles acquired the world, all-language rights from Curtis Brown.
  • My Brexit, a book by an anonymous writer for the @BorderIrish Twitter account, will be published by HarperCollins after securing the UK and Commonwealth rights by Robert Caskie of Caskie Mushens.
  • A title by business anthropologist Dr Simon Roberts was obtained by Bonnier Books imprint 535. Senior editor Oliver Holden-Read picked up the world rights for Hard Wired from A M Heath.
  • Trapeze has acquired world rights to Don’t Look Back in Anger: The Rise and Fall of Cool Brittania by Daniel Rachel, a compilation of interviews from 1990s icons Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn and Tracey Emin.
  • Mitchell S Jackson’s memoir on race and class Surviving Math is set to be published by Dialogue Books after striking a two-book deal buying the UK and Commonwealth rights.
  • Dr Rachel Clark’s Dear Life, an account of her work as a palliative care doctor at a NHS hospice, will be published in Spring 2020 after Richard Beswick of Little Brown acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights.
  • Faber prevailed in a thirteen-way auction to acquire the UK and Commonwealth rights to British forensic psychiatrist Dr Gwen Adshead’s book The Devil You Know: Understanding Human Evil, co-written with author and dramatist Eileen Horne.
  • Two new books by bestselling author Catherine Gray will be published by Octopus imprint Aster after publishing director Stephanie Jackson obtained the world, English-language rights.
  • An essay collection titled Queer Bible, edited by Jack Guinness, was acquired by HarperCollins after a nine-way auction, securing the world rights from Caskie Mushens.
  • The portrait of the Rolling Stones by Jo Wood, the ex-wife of guitarist Robbie, was attained by Octopus imprint Cassell Illustrated; the world rights were acquired in all languages.
  • Pan Macmillan list Bluebird has acquired the world rights to Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time by publishing consultant Sarah Harvey.
  • Breathing expert Richie Bostock’s book Exhale: The Science and Art of Breathwork had its world rights snapped up by Penguin Life.
  • Faber editorial director Laura Hassan has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to Miss Dior, the story of Catherine Dior, written by Harper Bazaar’s editor in chief Justine Picardie
  • The first non-fiction title from Annabel Abbs, Windswept: Why Women Walk, was obtained by Two Roads, with its UK and Commonwealth rights sold at auction by Rachel Mills.

TV

  • See-Saw Films obtained the TV rights to Scarlett Thomas’ Oligarchy, a novel which follows the daughter of a Russian oligarch at an English boarding school.
  • The rights to Caroline Hulse’s The Adult was obtained by Tiger Aspect for a TV adaptation at The Artists Partnership.
  • Tom Winchester brokered a deal for Heyday Television and Emily Hayward- Whitlock at The Arts Partnership, winning exclusive TV rights.

 

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