Scott Rudin-Acquired Manuscript Scores $2 Million Publishing Deal

Scott Rudin

Garth Risk Hallberg's debut novel, "City on Fire," now has a rich book contract to go along with the film deal from the "Social Network" producer.

City on Fire, the debut novel that scored a film deal from Scott Rudin before a book contract was in place, has now found its publisher.

Alfred A. Knopf has won the rights to publish the hotly anticipated 1970s-set novel about a murder and a mysterious townhouse in New York City, according to The New York Times.
The Hollywood Reporter previously reported Rudin's acquisition of the manuscript in late October.
The paper reports the Random House imprint paid about $2 million for the book. The size of the advance — and the early sale of film rights — is relatively rare for a first-timer.

Knopf has a good track record with smart literary fiction. It's finishing up a very successful 2013 campaign that saw it publish two of the year's hottest books: Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and Dan Brown's Inferno.

The author of City on Fire is 34-year-old Garth Risk Hallberg, whose previous work was the humorous novella A Field Guide to the American Family. Hallberg has also contributed to The New York Times, Slate and The Millions, a book blog. He has also taught writing at Sarah Lawrence and Fordham.

He is said to have taken six years to write City on Fire.

Rudin praised the book and its movie potential to the Times: "The scale of it, the vision of it, the big political ideas, how tightly knitted all the stories are to each other and how densely and pleasurably plotted it is, made me feel like, for the purposes of a movie, he had done the lion's share of the work that anyone would have to do."

Knopf editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta called it "spacious and extremely ambitious" with a "richness" that grabs readers.