The inside scoop on the book world -- Kevin Spacey grabbed the film rights for ''Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik'', and other news

By Clarissa Cruz
Updated June 09, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Harper’s Bizarre
It’s a self-publisher’s dream — your book has 27,500 copies in print, paperback rights have gone to Pocket Books (with an anticipated initial print run of 50,000), and, best of all, Oscar winner Kevin Spacey has optioned the film rights and written the book’s new introduction. Pretty heady stuff for an Arctic Circle-based writer who originally published an obscure true story about an Inuit boy and sold copies out of his Baffin Island general store. ”I feel vindicated,” says Kenn Harper, author of Steerforth Press’ Give Me My Father’s Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo. ”I knew this story had to be told…I always believed it warranted a wider audience.” The turn-of-the-century tale follows Minik, who with his father and four other Inuit, was taken to New York by explorer Robert Peary to be displayed at the American Museum of Natural History. When four of the six (including Minik’s father) developed tuberculosis and died, the museum exhibited their bones — refusing to return Minik’s father’s body to his family until 1993. Spacey, who read about the controversy in a Toronto newspaper, immediately snapped up the film rights, and when Steerforth issued the book in April, publisher Chip Fleischer appealed to the actor to pen the foreword. ”The story of Minik has the simplicity and resonance of myth,” Spacey writes. ”There’s not a page in this book without its horrors and its wonders.” A source close to the movie project says that Spacey and Harper will soon be scouting film locations.

Queen for a Day
Talk Miramax Books editor in chief Jonathan Burnham just preempted book and film rights to Cranberry Queen, a first novel by Kathleen DeMarco, John Leguizamo’s producing partner at Lower East Side Films. ”It was originally billed to me as a book in the Melissa Bank groove,” says Burnham, ”but actually it’s about grief and recovery, which she writes about with amazing humor and insight.”