Sean Wilsey is the latest young editor of the literary magazine McSweeney’s to sell his memoir at a premium. With a pre-emptive six-figure bid, Random House has acquired hardcover North American rights to Wilsey’s as yet untitled autobiography, on the basis of only 100 pages.
McSweeney’s editor Dave Eggers’ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” published by Simon & Schuster, Inc., is currently scaling bestseller lists and is one of the most buzzed-about properties in Hollywood, but remains unoptioned.
Wilsey’s book, an account of his dysfunctional, upper-crust West-coast upbringing and his expulsion from various schools in the United States and abroad, is distinguished by “riffy, vibrant, youthful prose,” said Random House senior literary editor Daniel Menaker.
It’s a genre that’s become a hallmark of Menaker’s list at Random House. A former fiction editor at the New Yorker, Menaker has the singular distinction of having been the first to publish seven of the writers who appeared in last summer’s “Top 20 Writers for the 21st Century” issue of the New Yorker.
Two of Menaker’s authors with first books out this spring have sold their fiction to Hollywood. Caitlin Macy’s forthcoming novel, “Fundamentals of Play,” was optioned last year by Scott Rudin, and “Sam the Cat,” the title story from Matthew Klam’s new collection, has been optioned by Cameron Crowe’s Vinyl Films.
IMG’s David McCormick, who repped Wilsey, told Daily Variety that his book is currently without West coast representation.