LOVE CONNECTION Vendela Vida, the author of Girls on the Verge, a nonfiction account of female rites of passage, has submitted her first novel, Raft of the Medusa, to New York publishers, and it apparently doesn’t hurt that she’s Dave Eggers’ girlfriend: ”It’s a legitimate novel,” says one editor, who was also taken with the news that the literary couple has opened a writing lab for inner-city youth in San Francisco’s Mission District. ”She’s a real writer — it’s not a ‘Look at who my boyfriend is’ kind of thing,” says Vida’s agent, Mary Evans, who reports an ”overwhelming, excited response” from editors in the few days the manuscript has been out. The novel is about a woman’s ”personal and emotional journey,” says Evans, through different places and cultures.
WRITE TO BE FREE Freelance writer Vanessa Leggett spent 168 days in a Houston lockup for refusing to turn over her notes to a grand jury. Now she’s sold a book about the murder case that got her into trouble and her experiences as a First Amendment poster girl. ”The question was, Can she write?” says Steve Ross, editorial director of Crown Publishers, which acquired the tentatively titled The Murder of the Bookie’s Wife. ”That she can was definitively answered with the proposal.”
THE OLD MAN AND THE NET While many major publishers are shelving their e-book programs, Simon & Schuster — which had the biggest digital publishing success of all time with Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet — will be rolling out e-books (at $9.99 a pop) of all 23 Ernest Hemingway titles in August through its imprint Scribner. ”From the minute we had the ability to publish e-books one of the main authors we wanted to do…was Hemingway,” says Scribner publisher Susan Moldow, adding that a big factor in Papa’s favor is that his work is assigned at so many colleges: ”More students are getting materials delivered in customized electronic formats.”