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Three of the Wayans--Keenen, Shawn and Marion--from that clan of outrageously funny, enduring and endearing comedians, will produce a series of books with cartoons, 101 Ways to Know You're.... The books were sold to Elizabeth Beier of Griffin Trade Paperback, with publication to begin this fall, by Rick Alvarez of Wayans Bros. Productions and Tracy Fisher of William Morris Agency. Shawn was coauthor of 150 Ways to Tell If You're Ghetto (Dell, June 1997).

The books by the comedic siblings are billed as similar to Snaps: The African American Art of Verbal Warfare and other books in the Snaps series by James Percelay, Monteria Ivey and Stephan Dweck (Harper, 1994) and to the Yo' Mama! books by Snap C. Pop and Kid Rank (Berkley Publishing Group), published in the 1990s. The title of the Wayans' book series also borrows from 101 Ways to Know You're "Black" in Corporate America by Deborah A. Watts (Watts Five Productions, 1998).


Recent deals in the publishing Industry show that demand for titles by or of special interest to African Americans is still on the rise. Following are some recent examples: Most were reported first by Publisher's Marketplace. (Look for more deals in all categories on our Web site, Publishers, agents and authors may send news of deals directly to Black Issues Book Review. See the e-mail address below.)


ESTHER IVEREM's book We Gotta Have It, which will explore African American filmmaking since Spike Lee burst on the scene, bringing a new black sense and sensibility to cinema, was sold to Anita Diggs at Thunder's Mouth Press in January. Iverem is the creator of the Web site, as well as a former cultural critic for The Washington Post and a former writer for The New York Times and New York Newsday. "The book is a provocative exploration of how the vision of the original New Wave pioneers has morphed and branched out into film--from the very 'high' to the very 'low,'" Iverem says. "There are obvious and nuanced issues of commerce versus art; divergent images, access and opportunities for black men and women, both in front of and behind the camera; the impact of hip-hop; the impact of the documentary movement and often humorous particulars of this burgeoning film community, such as the goings-on at film festivals and casting calls."

For the book, she interviews Lee and other leaders in the film industry, including Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who wrote the award-winning Lackawanna Blues. Iverem also recently published a book of poems, Living in Babylon: Poeros and Performance that includes "What Do You Believe In?" (Africa World Press, 2005).

RONIN RO will write the biography of Dr. Dre, a founder of the rap group N.W.A., Death Row Records and the gangsta rap genre. The book was acquired from agent Jim Fitzgerald by Anita Diggs of Thunder's Mouth Press. Re has written extensively on the hip-hop/rap world. The book is scheduled for publication in March 2007.

TODD BOYD's The Notorious Ph.D's Guide to the Super Fly '70s, a connoisseur's guide to the black entertainment culture of the 1970s, was sold to Janet Hill at Broadway, by Winifred Golden at the Castiglia Literary Agency. Boyd wrote Young Black Rich and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion & the Transformation of American Culture (Doubleday, 2003), among other books on popular culture. He is a professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, as well as a frequent media consultant and commentator.

AHMAD MACEO ELDRIDGE CLEAVER will publish Soul on Islam, a book intended to bridge the gap in relations between Muslims and non-Musliras. He is the son of Eldridge Cleaver, a Black Panther founder whose searing essays in Soul on Ice, published in 1968, became one of the best known books of that divisive era. Ahmad's book was sold to Sam Chekwas at Seaburn Publishing, by James Schiavone at Schiavone Literary Agency.

Ahmad's mother, Kathleen Cleaver, has been promoting a new book she edited on Eldridge Cleaver, Target Zero: A Life in Writing (Palgrave Macmillan, February 2006).

According to the agent, Ahmad's memoir sketches his life with his parents and describes the tenets of Islam, using quotes from the Qur'an in a clear, straightforward and enlightening narrative. The elder Cleaver lived in exile in Algiers, Cuba, France and other places after fleeing arrest in the United States. He returned to the United States in 1975, faced charges of assault and later embraced Christianity and conservatism. He died in 1998.

RANDALL ROBINSON's agent, Marie Brown, sold two of his books to Basic Civitas Books: Haiti, an insider's chronicle of that nation's troubled history, to be published in late 2007; and Wounded Black Consciousness, an exploration of the unsolved issues confronting African Americans, for publication in the winter of 2008. Robinson was the founder and president of TransAfrica, a lobbying organization that aims to influence U.S. policy toward Africa and the Caribbean. His previous books include The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks (Dub ton, 2000).


WALTER MOSLEY's Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistentialist Novel will be published by Bloomsbury. It is a dark, erotic tale of a man in search of a new life after finding his girlfriend with another man. The book was sold to Karen Rinaldi at Bloomsbury for publication in winter 2007, by Gloria Loomis of Watkins Loomis.

50 CENT's G-Unit Books, which will produce street novellas and graphic novels, was sold to Louise Burke at Pocket and Jacob Hoye at MTV Books/Pocket (which published 50 Cent's memoir), with Lauren McKenna editing, to begin in 2007, by Marc Gerald of The Agency Group. It will begin with a novella by Nikki Turner. G-Unit's name comes from his "real life posse," whose members show up as fictionalized characters in the books. They promise to tell "the truth about the life; the sex, guns and cash; the brutal highs and short lives of the players on the streets."

BRANDON MASSEY's two untitled suspense thrillers, the first about a man who is offered the chance to bring his parents' murderer to justice 20 years after witnessing their deaths, were bought by Karen Thomas at Dafina, for publication in 2007 and 2008, from the Sarah Camilli Agency.

CHRIS ABANI's The Virgin of Flames, a Los Angeles love story, was sold to Kathryn Court at Penguin, by Ellen Levine.

For more deals and events, as well as (Signings & Sightings, visit our Web site,

By Angela P. Dodson: E-mail your news to
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Title Annotation:between the lines: the inside scoop on what's happening in the publishing industry
Author:Dodson, Angela P.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
Previous Article:The road we traveled.
Next Article:Agenda: BookExpo: 2006 Expo in the capital city.

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