Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bits and pieces

Thanks to the chocolate cake I had last night at 8pm, I'm up bright and early this Sunday morning, though am anything but awake. (Sugar doesn't keep me up, but I guess it had more caffeine than I thought.) As I type this, the kittens are attacking a bowl of fake fruit and playing hockey with the apples and raspberries on the kitchen linoleum. It's kind of loud.

The winner of the 2009 Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction is Edward Rutherfurd's New York: The Novel, out from Doubleday in November 2009. The prize is presented annually to "the best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history." Details and submission guidelines for the 2010 award are available at the website for the Langum Charitable Trust, as are justifications for the 2009 award. Recent past winners include Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter and Kurt Andersen's Heyday.

Director's Mentions for 2009 went to Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman for In the Lion’s Den: A Novel of the Civil War (iUniverse) and Jamie Ford's On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ballantine).

This week I signed up for the first Book Blogger Convention, to be held in NYC on Friday, May 28th. It promises to be lots of fun, not to mention educational, and I'm looking forward to meeting many of my fellow book bloggers there. I'll be heading to BEA as well.

Lauren Willig is co-teaching a course on reading the historical romance novel at Yale, as part of their College Seminar Program.

Britain's Daily Mail spotlights three historical novels.

Beth Powning's The Sea Captain's Wife, a woman's seafaring adventure story set in 1860s New Brunswick, is reviewed by the Telegraph-Journal and the National Post. It's published by Knopf Canada.

In reviewing Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves for the Globe & Mail, Kate Taylor gives direction on mixing the contemporary and historical.

Bernard Cornwell's latest Saxon saga, The Burning Land, gets full treatment in the Wall Street Journal, which calls him "
the most prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today."

The Chicago Sun-Times interviews Melanie Benjamin about Alice I Have Been.

Thanks to Google Alerts, I learned that my first historical fiction guide has been written up by the Ann Arbor District Library, which calls it a "primo reference." I'm so pleased to hear that it's being used. I went to library school at the U of M and spent countless hours at this library -- researching job leads, combing the stacks for good books, and haunting their excellent book sale room.

Some recent publishing deals below. I highly recommend a subscription to Publishers Marketplace to anyone wanting a feel for which agents are selling which types of books to which publishers. I'm posting just a fraction of the historical novel deals included there.

Michelle Diener's ILLUMINATIONS, in which an artist arrives at the court of Henry VIII, not realizing she possesses a deadly secret; together with Henry's most lethal courtier, she races to foil the murderous plot against the throne, and BRILLIANCE, in which John and Susanna seek to recover the Mirror of Naples, part of the French crown jewels, to Micki Nuding at Gallery, for publication in 2011, by Marlene Stringer at the Stringer Literary Agency (World). [Gallery is a new Simon & Schuster imprint, debuting with its first list in 2010.]

Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER VIII, the eighth volume in the bestselling family saga, to Nita Taublib at Delacorte Press, in a major deal, for publication in Fall 2013, by Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency (US). ["major deal" = high six figures]

THE GOLDEN MEAN author Annabel Lyon's THE SWEET GIRL, the story of Aristotle's daughter Pythias' fierce resistance to his attempt at the end of his life to arrange her marriage before he died, to Anne Collins of Random House Canada, for publication in 2013, by Denise Bukowski of The Bukowski Agency. [The Golden Mean, a fictional narrative about Aristotle, won Canada's Writer's Trust award this year. US rights for Mean went to Knopf, pub date to be announced.]

TEARS OF PEARL and upcoming DANGEROUS TO KNOW author Tasha Alexander's next two novels, featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves and her husband Colin, whose adventures take them to glamorous and exotic locales in the service of Queen Victoria's government, to Andrew Martin and Charles Spicer at Minotaur, by Anne Hawkins at John Hawkins & Associates (world).

Somerset Maugham Prize, the Betty Trask Award, the Geoffrey Faber Prize winner Justin Hill's THE CONQUEST series, a breathtaking evocation of feudal England, to Richard Beswick at Abacus, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2011 and 2012, by Charlie Viney at The Viney Agency. [The Maugham Prize was won for Passing Under Heaven, set during the last years of the Tang Dynasty. Details at the author's site]


  1. I LOVED New York!! I've enjoyed all his books except Russka, found that a bit tedious. New York is one of those rare books that sucks you in so deep you have a hard time getting into another book after, it lingers in your brain - if you know what I mean.

  2. Kewl. Thanks for all the brilliant info.

  3. I just got an email saying that you suggested me for an ARC of Guy Gavriel Kay's newest book. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :-D

  4. You're welcome! I'm amused, I didn't expect they would mention me, but he's a friend and mentioned his publicity people were looking for suggestions -- so I sent a few ideas. I'm looking forward to reading Under Heaven myself!

  5. Jeannie8:29 PM

    Thanks for posting some of those deals. It's always interesting to see what's selling. :-)

  6. Sarah, thanks for the shout out on my debut sale(s). I am thrilled to be part of the new Gallery list.

  7. Congratulations, Michelle! I've enjoyed browsing through your website. And glad you liked reading through the deals, Jeannie!