Disney revamps HarperCollins

HarperCollins CEO Anthea Disney announced a rash of new appointments and promotions and a restructuring of the adult trade group’s publishing and marketing departments.

These changes include Diane Reverand, who has served since 1994 as VP, associate publisher and editor-in-chief, becoming publisher of her own imprint at HC. And Joelle Delbourgo, former VP and editorial director of the division, has been named senior VP, associate publisher and editor-in-chief of adult trade.

Susan Weinberg becomes senior VP and publishing director of Harper Perennial and Marjorie Braman joins HC as senior VP, adult trade and publishing director of Harper Paperbacks.

Adrian Zackheim was appointed senior VP, publisher of HarperBusiness, which now becomes a stand-alone publishing division. John Silbersack becomes senior VP and publishing director of HarperPrism, the specialized science-fiction and media imprint that also becomes a stand-alone publishing division.

Brillstein book to Little, Brown

Though several publishers were interested, Little, Brown managed to pick up the pub rights to manager Bernie Brillstein’s memoirs “I Have to Stop Doing This Before I Go Blind.”

Little, Brown executive editor Fredrica Friedman will edit the memoir, co-authored by David Rensin.Book is expected to be published sometime next year.

Brillstein was repped by the William Morris Agency’s Dan Strone.

Strone also repped one of the first books purchased under Diane Reverand’s new imprint at HarperCollins, “Act First, Apologize Later” by Adam Werbach, the 23-year-old president of the Sierra Club. The book, an environmental activism and leadership guide, is billed as a call to arms for young leaders in the MTV generation.

King ransoms Lehrer novel

Indie producer Robert J. King has given a new lease on film life to broadcaster/novelist Jim Lehrer’s 1988 novel “Kick the Can.” King recently picked up the film and TV rights to the coming-of-age road tale.

The novel tells of the story of a young desperado — dubbed the “One-Eyed Mack” because he lost an eye as a child during a game of kick the can — and his odyssey through the Southwest on the eve of the Korean War.

Lehrer, who currently anchors and exec produces “The Newshour With Jim Lehrer” on PBS, was repped on the deal by Joe Regal of the Russell & Volkening agency in New York.

Jessie’s journal goes to war

Warner Books shelled out more than $1 million last week for the publishing rights to “The Life of Jessie Lee Brown, From Birth Up to 80 Years,” the memoirs of Jessie Foveaux, a 98-year-old Kansas woman whose life story became the subject of a bidding war after she was profiled in the Wall Street Journal.

Warner threw out the winning bid after several rounds of offers came in with a floor set at $375,000.

Written in longhand when she was 80, the memoirs give a candid account of Foveaux’s marriage to an alcoholic husband and her raising of eight children during and after World War II.

She reportedly now is working on a second set of memoirs chronicling the last 18 years.

Picks and previews

“The Actual: A Novella”

Saul Bellow (Viking) Pub date: May

Narrator Harry Trellman’s ailing mother and hardworking father consigned him to an orphanage. Shady business dealings kept him in the Third World for most of his adulthood. His high-school sweetheart has grown old in the arms of other men. In late middle age, Trellman returns to the Chicago of his youth to recover what he can of the life that has passed him by.

Rights: available

“Pandaemonium”

Leslie Epstein (St. Martin’s) Pub date: May

Epstein (“King of the Jews”) has written a darkly comic fantasia about Hollywood and Nazis. Austrian director Rudolph Von Beckmann is blackmailed by Hitler, forcing him out of Austria and into Hollywood, where he embarks on making “Antigone” as a kitschy Western, which he intends to be an indictment of Hitler.

Rights: available

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