Robert A. Caro
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
2022 promises to be another eventful year for Bob. The New-York Historical Society exhibit will run throughout the year (and for all time) and will continue to add notes, letters, artifacts, and marginalia from his decades of work as a reporter and biographer. There are unbounded treasures in the Caro archives, and their preservation is a vast resource and inspiration to historians, reporters, and students alike (there’s also a great story waiting to be written about the unique well of documents contained therein).
A documentary is coming too, Turn Every Page, about Caro’s relationship with his longtime editor, Robert Gottlieb. The documentary is directed by Lizzie Gottlieb, and it features a lot of, um, intellectual action (the two Bobs sparring!). The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to glowing reviews, and will be released by Sony this Fall.
Finally, there’s a play about Robert Moses, Straight Line Crazy, written by David Hare, directed by Nicholas Hytner and Jamie Armitage, and starring Ralph Fiennes, opening at The Shed in October. Please note: Mr. Caro has no connection to the play (other than, perhaps, providing inspiration for the work).
The Estate of Joan Didion
We had the great fortune of working with Joan Didion for two decades. She is a writer whose books we turn to again and again. Our job at BPR is to keep her work front and center with readers.
We are working with the Didion Dunne Literary Trust to curate collections for anyone interested in Joan Didion’s life and work. We’ve designed a Joan Didion website—joandidion.org—that features her archive and we will be launching an Instagram account for Joan Didion that includes letters, notes, photographs, manuscript pages, artifacts, and memorabilia.
The exhibit, Joan Didion: What She Means, will open this fall at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Curated by New Yorker contributor Hilton Als, this “exhibition as portrait” will include painting, ephemera, photography, sculpture, video, and footage from a number of the films for which Didion authored screenplays.
When Paul started this business, a PR colleague said to him “only take on projects you love.” He took her advice to heart, and one of the first clients he signed on as a result of her advice was Monica Heisey. “I fell in love with her debut novel Really Good, Actually (coming from William Morrow in January) and have a hunch readers are going to fall in love with it too,” he says.
Really Good, Actually is an honest, empathetic, and hilarious portrait of a life gone slightly off the rails in the wake of a consequential break-up (read divorce). It’s full of keen observations about women, men, friendship, sex, family, therapy, stress eating, body image, love, and loneliness. Readers are going to fall hard for the protagonist, Maggie, because she’s one of us (her life is a mess). The book made us laugh—something we hadn’t done in a while—but more than that, we found it to be an honest rendering of these oh-so post-romantic times (swipe left).
Monica and Paul were chatting recently, and he asked her, given her successful track as a television writer and essayist, how she would succinctly pitch her novel. “I guess I’d say like, ‘Unexpectedly divorced at 29, a millennial must decide for the first time what she actually wants from life.’ Or maybe: ‘A newly single woman freaks out in an extended way.’”
Emily St. John Mandel
Emily St. John Mandel, the best-selling author of Station Eleven, The Glass Hotel, and Sea of Tranquility, asked us to design a clean and elegant website for her work. The new site—emilymandel.com—which went live this summer, features international editions of her books, reviews, excerpts, pull quotes, upcoming events, news, and more. Plus, as Mandel’s work expands into film and television, her site will grow too.
Sonny Mehta Fellowships
Endowed by Gita Mehta
Sonny was both a mentor and friend. No one cared more about supporting authors and their work. The goal of these fellowships, at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, is to support aspiring writers from underrepresented countries.
“The Fellowships are driving worldwide interest in the Workshop,” said Director Lan Samantha Chang, “and we are experiencing increases in international applications as a result.”
For those interested in making a contribution to the Sonny Mehta Fellowships, here is a link to the giving page.
Novelist and Journalist for The Independent
Clémence’s debut thriller The Quiet Tenant (coming from Knopf in June 2023) will be taking the world by storm. Rights to the novel have already been sold in thirty countries. We don’t want to reveal too much about the book right now other than to say that the reading experience leaves one breathless.
We did, however, ask Clémence about the genesis of the book. “I didn’t expect writing a psychological thriller to become my escape hatch in the midst of a pandemic,” she said, “but it did. I think the uneasiness all of us were experiencing crept its way into the narrative. The feeling of being trapped, of life without escape, of this bigger threat we couldn't control. I needed a project, something that couldn't be taken away from me. I’m not sure how healthy an exercise this actually was, but I am happy with the end result, and I hope readers will be too.”
Clémence is a journalist for The Independent. She is also a novelist now, one we will be hearing from for years to come.
New York Times Best-Selling Author of Madame Fourcade’s Secret War
Historian Lynne Olson has always been drawn to unsung heroes—individuals of moral courage and conscience who helped change their country and the world but who, for various reasons, have slipped into the shadows of history.
Our collaboration with Lynne is focused on expanding her readership and social footprint, and drawing attention to the remarkable subjects she has written about.
Lynne’s next book, Empress of the Nile (coming from Random House in February) focuses on Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, the daredevil woman archaeologist who saved Egypt’s ancient temples from extinction. This fascinating book will bring Lynne an even broader readership.
Literary Arts, Portland OR
“Every shared moment of curiosity, hope, and intelligent discussion is an antidote to the anxiety of the times.”—Portland Book Festival attendee
Paul’s work with Andrew Proctor, the Executive Director of Literary Arts, dates back more than a decade. Paul was always excited to bring authors to Portland because the events Literary Arts put together were extraordinary, as was the throughline to the community. The national footprint Andrew and his team have built in Portland means that readers and writers and publishers across the country now see it as an essential destination. It is a central resource in the Pacific Northwest for tens of thousands of readers and writers. The programmatic development over the past ten-plus years has reinvented the basic structure of the community-based work that is also national in scope.
Over the next several years, Literary Arts will be spearheading multiple initiatives in their community and beyond, and will be making several major announcements in the months to come. Paul is thrilled to be working with Literary Arts, and helping to spotlight these initiatives.
New York Times Best-Selling Author of Inheritance
It has been enormously gratifying to observe the evolution of Dani’s work, and her growing readership, book by book. Signal Fires (coming from Knopf in October), her first work of fiction in fifteen years, is a powerful novel about families and the ties that bind them, and the secrets that can break them.
“All my writing life, I’ve been obsessed with secrets,” says Dani, “Why we keep them, what they do to us, the legacy they leave. Over a decade ago, I was visited by an array of characters, all of whom stayed with me. In Signal Fires, I was finally able to discover their connection to one another – a constellation of lives informed by tragedy, one devastating secret kept, and the resulting path each life takes over the course of fifty years.”
Signal Fires is Dani’s best work to date, a book everyone will be reading this fall, and we can’t wait to share it with you. It will as well be coming to the screen—more news on that in the weeks ahead. Finally: if you haven’t listened to Dani’s podcast, Family Secrets, we recommend you do so now. Season 7 has just dropped.
Julius Taranto’s blisteringly irreverent debut novel, The Moral Offset, is being published by Little Brown next September. It’s about a physics graduate student who finds herself exiled to an island university where disgraced and unpalatable professors get safe harbor to operate at the tops of their respective fields. “I was struck by the intelligence, polish, and wit of this work,” said Paul. “Julius enters the rough seas of American discourse with a bravado that maps brilliantly to his characters and their campus. The Moral Offset is a novel of ideas, one that is guaranteed to both ignite conversation and ruffle feathers.”
It is not surprising that Taranto’s debut arrives as a fully realized novel, and with such artful execution, given he is something of a completist when it comes to the work of other writers (you can read his much-discussed essay on David Foster Wallace here). He’s done the homework and it shows. Julius’s command of character, place, and subject, and his ability to tether them to a novel about the ideological wars of our time, will resonate across America and around the world.
“Don’t you see,” says an aging, iconoclastic novelist in The Moral Offset, “wokeness is a theology? But a theology with no text, no god, no organizing myth of principles, no traditions. There is in this millennial religion only the vaguest sense of good and evil, applied to daily life by an ever-shifting clergy of popular priests and priestesses.”
Taranto’s debut novel is refreshingly thought-provoking and wise, a book that offers a masterly exploration of work, marriage, technology, and individuality.
Sometimes, clients find you, and boy oh boy did Paul feel lucky that the founders of Tertulia found him. When they presented the work they were doing on book discovery, Paul immediately recognized both the importance of the work and the potential for the app they were building.
The Tertulia app enables readers to discover and purchase books in a new way—one that has the additional benefit of rewarding readers with a stake in the company. Publishers have been trying to harness the conversational energy about books taking place across the web for years.
Tertulia is the first company to have done this at scale. Using both AI and editorial curators, Tertulia is aggregating book mentions, tweets, posts, reviews, ratings, and conversations from across social media, podcasts, and the web, and condensing all the content into an information-rich bundle for readers. Tertulia provides book lovers with a clear signal from the noise, distilling “word-of-mouth” discovery (the holy grail of publishing) into an app.
Our collaboration with Tertulia has been layered from the outset, providing wide-ranging advice on strategy, suggestions for the app, tactics in the run-up to launch, setting up preview meetings with authors, agents, and publishers, and landing a tentpole consumer story in the New York Times and a trade story in Publishers Weekly.
Tertulia recently extended our contract work with them, and we are thrilled to be their partner in this exciting new chapter for readers, authors, and publishers.