Multiple deals for Swedish literary debut

Rights - International Thursday, 08 November 2018

Bonnier Rights hails success of Daniel Birnbaum's Dr B

This week has seen four deals with the English language rights being snapped up by HarperCollins (US) and 4th Estate (UK), as well as Assirio & Alvim (Portuguese EU) and Rahva (Estonia) acquiring rights.

A flurry of deals at October's Frankfurt Book Fair was struck with Gallimard (France), Piper Verlag (Germany), La Nave di Teseo (Italy) and Querido Uitgeverij (The Netherlands).

Birnbaum (pictured) said: "My novel mainly takes place in Stockholm, but the characters are just travelling through. They want to go to new countries and new continents. I do feel that my story has relevance outside of a Swedish readership, and I am overjoyed that the book will now reach readers in so many different parts of the world."

The germ of the book developed when Birnbaum found a box of letters belonging to his grandfather Immanuel Birnbaum hidden in his attic. These would become the basis for Dr B, the 'larger-than-life true story of a hitherto unknown World War II drama, played out in the world of book publishing, émigrés, spies and diplomats in 1940s Stockholm, drawing comparisons to Lara Prescott’s We Were Never Here.'

Elisabet Brännström, head of Bonnier Rights, said: "We knew the minute we saw the first draft manuscript that Dr B was something very special – a once in a lifetime story, really – and we’re thrilled to bring it to a wider international audience. Seeing the book acquired by so many of the world’s finest publishers is a treat indeed."

The author is the Director of Moderna Museet, the Modern Museum of Art, in Stockholm, until the end of this year when he moves to London to become director of VR company Acute Art. He has previously managed both museums and art schools in Germany and Italy, and curated the Venice-Biennale in 2009.

Bonnier Rights was established in 2003. The literary agency is owned by the Swedish Bonnier Publishing Group, and it represents a number of authors published by Bonnier and other publishing houses, for translation as well as film and tv rights. Authors on the books include Håkan Nesser, Mari Jungstedt, Lina Wolff, Maria Adolfsson, Lina Bengtsdotter, Kerstin Ekman and Maria Sveland.

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