Monday, December 15, 2008

First ever rights deal closed on Facebook: Great European Novel sold to Gondolat (Hungary)

This Saturday (13th December) Belgian publisher Meulenhoff | Manteau (Antwerp) and Hungarian publisher Gondolat (Budapest) closed a deal for the Hungarian rights of Great European Novel by Flemish author Koen Peeters, a novel originally written in Dutch. János Boris, Gondolat’s publisher, started a conversation on Facebook with Harold Polis, his Belgian colleague, announcing that he would buy the Hungarian rights. Posting messages on each others message boards, the two quickly realized they were experiencing something completely new: the birth of an international publishing culture on Facebook. János Boris: “It hasn't occurred to me that we were making history, but God, we are!”

Great European Novel by Koen Peeters was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize 2008 and longlisted for the Gouden Uil Literature Prize 2008. The novel has as many chapters as there are European capital cities. It's a biting quest for personal happiness and a quest for the European soul. Alessandro Piperno wrote about the novel in Corriere Della Sera: “A revelation. Reading a story like this one makes you happy.” De Volkskrant called it “an ambitious and delicate novel: Europe as a precious mistake.”

Meulenhoff | Manteau is a leading publisher of Dutch-language contemporary fiction and non-fiction in Belgium and the Netherlands. Meulenhoff | Manteau (an imprint of Standaard Uitgeverij) is the publisher of the original Dutch version of Omega Minor, the epic novel by Paul Verhaeghen which won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2008). Omega Minor was sold to Dalkey Archive Press (US), Eichborn (Germany), Le Cherche Midi (France), Polis (Greece). Recent sales include the German rights (Luchterhand) of Woman Country by Flemish debut prize winner Rachida Lamrabet. Earlier this month Great European Novel was sold to Slovenia (Modrijan) and Bulgaria (Colibri).

Gondolat is one of Hungaí's major publishing companies long established on the Hungarian publishing scene mainly as a academic publisher. While academic books remains its core activity, Gondolat now also has an increasingly strong international fiction line concentrating on contemporary authors. Gondolat's World Literature Series now boasts such international stars as Russian writer Vladmir Sorokin, the author of Ice, or last year's Man-Booker Prize winner, Anne Enright , whose Family Gathering has just appeared in Hungarian for the Christmas season. Earlier this year Gondolat bought the Hungarian rights for Omega Minor.

For more information:

Meulenhoff | Manteau
Harold Polis (English blog)

János Boris

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