Ari O getting book treatment

Books about Jackie O have long held the public interest, and now a Boston lit agent has a manuscript about the O in Jackie’s life. The agent, Helen Rees, is about to bring to publishers a book based on the stories of Aristotle Onassis’ personal assistant.

The Greek woman worked for Ari while he was married to Jackie and carrying on a not-so-discreet affair with Maria Callas. The book is said to be a very earthy portrait of Onassis, portraying his severe mood shifts from tender to violent.

While many have speculated about whether Jackie actually loved him, the proposal hints at an actual loving, sexual relationship between the two. This is balanced against a portrayal of Ari’s often violent relationship with Callas, right next door to the home in which he lived with Jackie.

Morrow hopes ‘Gift’ keeps giving

The hype machinery behind Bradford Morrow’s publishing deal for “Giovanni’s Gift” and subsequent promotional packaging has been widely covered — it even was the subject of a recent New York magazine cover story, which detailed how agents, editors, publicists and sales people tried to turn the novel into the next hot book. Now Morrow is turning his attention to the film rights for the novel, which are still available and are being handled by CAA. Book was published last month by Viking.

Di Novi’s all ‘Heart’

Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to Marcel Montecino’s “Sacred Heart” for producer Denise Di Novi, who recently hung her shingle on the Burbank lot.

Set in the late ’20s, the book tells the story of a young Irish gangster who kills the mobsters responsible for his father’s death. He flees to Mexico, disguised as a priest. Against the backdrop of the violent Mexican civil war, he meets up with his estranged brother, an actual priest.

Book is set to be published by Pocket Books later this year. Bob Bookman of CAA negotiated the deal on Montecino’s behalf.

Esparza-Katz snares ‘Rapture’

Esparza-Katz Prods. (“The Milagro Beanfield War”) has optioned “Rapture” by David Sosnowski, a Michigan-based writer, teacher and part-time fireworks salesman.

Book, published by Random House in September, is part romance, part satire on the current angel phenomenon. When a small-time Detroit dope dealer feels an itch on his back, he soon discovers he’s growing wings. The epidemic of “Angelism” spreads, and in no time Congress has gotten involved, angel support groups crop up, militant factions create the Feathered Nation, and America has a new minority on its hands.

The William Morris Agency’s Bill Contardi negotiated the deal on behalf of Sosnowski’s New York lit agent, Linn Prentiss of Virginia Kidd.

Pages in preview


Mameve Medwed (Warner) Pub. date: May

A Harvard grad and ex-wife of a much older Joycean scholar, a 31-year-old Cambridge resident gives up her job at Widener Library to take a chance as a writer. Her mailbox becomes “an umbilical cord … the giver of pleasure and pain,” and her new mailman (a rough-around-the-edges kind of guy whose greatest charm is his empathy with her disappointments and triumphs) becomes the man of her dreams.

Rights: available (ICM)

“Down by the River”

Edna O’Brien (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Pub date: May

Inspired by a controversial incident that took place in Ireland a few years ago, O’Brien’s latest novel tells of Mary, a young teenager who seems ordinary but hides a terrible secret. For years, she has been brutalized and sexually abused by her father, a crime her victimized mother ignores. Even those who have suspicions — neighbors, priests and teachers — say nothing. When the incest results in Mary’s pregnancy, a neighbor rallies to her side, but with disastrous results. Mary metamorphoses from terrified innocent to potential murderess.

Rights: available (Wylie Agency)

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