Lessons in Publishing Longevity: Undercover Sells to the Dutch House, Callenbach

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yesterday, it became official: Callenbach, the glorious Dutch publishing house that released a gorgeous, translated Small Damages two years ago, has purchased Dutch translation rights to Undercover, the first young adult novel I ever wrote and published.

Like Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, Undercover first appeared in 2007 and taught me several things about risks worth taking. Like The Heart Is Not a Size, Undercover is vaguely autobiographical—a Cyrano story of a teen who cannot see her own beauty and who relies on words to bridge her to the world. My Elisa writes poems. She has an English teacher who cares. She skates secretly on a frozen pond. She meets a boy named Theo. Her words, she soon discovers, have power. But so, perhaps, does she.

It is moving to think of vestiges of my own Radnor High and adolescence being transported to the Netherlands, under the auspices of a publishing house established in 1854. It is also telling, and hopeful—a sign of optimism for all of us—that books written years ago still live on, somehow. This idea about longevity is perhaps the lesson for me of this year, as Flow, seven years later, emerges as an affordable paperback, and as Undercover begins the process of finding a new audience in the Netherlands, as it has also found in China.

My thanks to Alpha Wong of HarperTeen for negotiating the agreement, and to Amy Rennert, my agent, for letting me know.


Victoria Marie Lees said...

As always, I'm so happy for you. It couldn't have happened to a more worthy writer. Congratulations, Beth!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I so love this, AND I so love this book!

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