Lihi Lapid has inked an exceptional book deal by Israeli standards, as Harper Collins purchased the rights to her latest novel in an estimated six-figure deal.
The deal for her book “Strangers” was signed with the Israel Institute for Hebrew Literature. The agreement dictates that her book will be translated into English and be published by Harper’s imprint Harper Via, which specializes in international literature. The deal was estimated to be worth at least $100,000 and possibly as much as several hundred thousand dollars.
“Strangers,” her third adult fiction book, received positive reviews and became a bestseller, with some 40,000 copies being purchased. Lapid, the wife of Yair Lapid, who is about to become the caretaker prime minister, is also a journalist. She has published a book of her columns, and is also a children’s book author, photographer and lecturer.
“Strangers” was released in early 2021. It tells the story of the relationship between an adolescent girl suffering from post-traumatic stress, probably due to sexual assault, and a demented elderly woman who gives her shelter because she mistakenly believes the girl is her granddaughter. “An amazing text and a stirring creation,” Gafi Amir wrote about the book in the Hebrew books section of Haaretz last year. Maariv’s Yaron Fried described Lapid as a “sophisticated author” in his review of the book.
“I am really excited that my book, which is also personal but also so very Israeli, will reach people around the world, will tell our story here,” Lapid told Haaretz. “It is also of course a great accomplishment for me. I wrote this book from the heart, about parent-children relations in this age and about our obligation to our family. It’s a great joy.”
The deal with Harper Collins is considered exceptional by Israeli standards both because of the amount paid and because it promised translation and publication in many countries. The deal is connected to the book’s local success but also to Lapid’s being the wife of the incoming premier.
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Likewise, a memoir by Yitzhak Rabin’s granddaughter, Noa Rothman, “In the Name of Sadness and Hope,” was commissioned by a French publisher and made gross income of nearly $600,000. That book was considered unprecedented given the circumstances of its writing.
Regarding Israeli books in general being published abroad, local industry figures note the sale of two books by Sarit Yishai Levy, “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” and “Woman Across the Sea,” for translation abroad as a particularly lucrative deal, partly thanks to the first book being turned into a television series on Netflix.
While “Strangers” will be Harper Via’s first Israeli book, it is set to release the late A.B. Yehoshua’s “The Only Daughter” later this year, with Harper Collins gaining the U.S. rights to it.