Ferrente is expected to release her new book later this year, following her last series of novels.
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation, including Margaret Atwood, Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, Salman Rushdie, and Elif Shafak
The Booker Prize is a byword for the finest literary fiction; its roll of shortlisted and winning authors contains some of the greatest writers since 1969.
Described as "The leading literary award in the English speaking world, which has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over 50 years" has just put together its shortlist. . Awarded annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.
Ferrente’s four-part Neapolitan series, which began with My Brilliant Friend, told the story of the lifelong friendship and rivalry between two women who grew up in a poor neighbourhood in the southern Italian city.
The second season of HBO’s TV adaptation of the series, which will cover the second book of the quartet, is expected to be aired next year.
Since the Neapolitan novels, Ferrante, who conceals her identity behind a pseudonym, has published one book, Incidental Inventions, a collection of columns that she wrote during her year-long collaboration with the Guardian.
Ferrante’s previous books include the Turin-based The Days of Abandonment and The Troubling Love.
In 2016 the investigative journalist Claudo Gatti caused a storm in the literary world after claiming to unmask Ferrante as Anita Raja, a Rome-based translator who once helped run a publishing imprint of Italian writers.
Gatti was criticised for a gross violation of the writer’s privacy and some believed he would be blamed if Ferrante disappeared from public life. In interviews over the years, Ferrante suggested that her anonymity was a vital component of her work. Being unknown, she said, gave her the space and liberty to focus on her writing, free from the “anxiety of notoriety” or the temptation to censor herself. The novel is planned for release later this year.
German indie publisher Voland & Quist Verlag is launching an English language imprint, V&Q Books, for distribution in the UK and Ireland.
Led by translator Katy Derbyshire, V&Q will launch its first titles in autumn 2020. Featuring German commercial, literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, alongside original English language writing from the country, the firm aims to release five to six flexcover books each year.
The launch list includes Lucy Fricke’s Daughters, translated by Sinead Crowe. It tells the story of two women, pushing 40, on a road trip across Europe, each of them dealing with difficult fathers along the way. The publisher said: “A bestseller and booksellers’ favourite in Germany, Daughters evokes laughter and tears by way of life and death, friendship and family.”
Also coming up is Paula by Sandra Hoffmann, translated by Derbyshire, a piece of autofiction about the writer’s relationship to her grandmother, a devout Swabian Catholic who refused to reveal who fathered her child in 1946.
Canongate has acquired a noir thriller by Buenos Aires-based janitor and author K Ferrari.
Senior commissioning editor Hannah Knowles acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada to Like Flies from Afar from Devon Mazzone, director of subsidiary rights at Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
It will be translated by Adrian Nathan West is a writer and literary critic based in Spain. Canongate will publish it in trade paperback, retailing at £12.99, on 24th March 2020.
The synopsis reads: “A profane and uproarious piece of hard-boiled noir, Like Flies from Afar follows Luis Machi, an unforgettably loathsome Argentinian oligarch, through 24 hours of his eventful life. He has a cocaine habit, a collection of 300 ties, ten million dollars in the bank… and a bloody corpse in the trunk of his BMW. Although Machi happily fraternises with the worst elements of society, the dead body is one of the few things he can truthfully claim to be innocent of.”
Like Flies from Afar is the first novel to be published in English by Ferrari who began his writing career while an undocumented immigrant in the US. Ferrari works as a janitor for the Buenos Aires metro at the Pasteur-Amia station on line B. In the 1990s, he was deported from the US where he and his wife were trying to find work.
“Like Flies from Afar demonstrates why K Ferrari is already an award-winning star of international crime fiction,” Canongate said. “A hardboiled noir thriller, a whodunit, a black comedy, and a filthy catalogue of the excesses of wealth, this is a Jim Thompson novel for the globalized world.”
Ferrari, who has written three novels, two collections of short fiction, and a book of nonfiction, said: “I look forward to the release of my novel, Like Flies from Afar, in the UK – and with such a prestigious publishing house as Canongate. I hope to reach many readers there soon.”
Knowles added: “I’m a sucker for a great noir thriller, and K Ferrari is an excitingly fresh voice in the genre. Like the best writers of noir, he uses the form to address the serious problems within society but never at the expense of a blistering plot and the sharpest of wise-cracks.”
Harper Collins is launching an imprint HarperVia, which will focus primarily on publishing fiction in translation with an “eye for books that celebrate the universal desire for discovery, understanding and connection through exceptional storytelling,” HC said. HarperOne president and publisher Judith Curr sees the HarperVia We’re building a new model for world English-language publishing, creating a platform where books can be discovered,” she said, adding that she sees HarperVia as “something like Netflix, telling stories from all over the world.”
Hamish Hamilton has bought a book by author Avni Doshi, billed as “a sly and searing debut from an unmissable new voice in literary fiction”.
Hermione Thompson, editor at Hamish Hamilton, bought world English volume, audio and serial rights excluding Indian sub-continent from Maria Cardona at Pontas Literary & Film Agency, to publish in Summer 2020.
“In her youth, Tara abandoned her loveless marriage to join an ashram, endured a brief stint as a beggar -mostly to spite her affluent parents - and spent years chasing after a dishevelled, homeless ‘artist’, all with her young child in tow,” the synopsis reads. “Now she is forgetting things, mixing up her maid’s wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar is a novel about mothers and daughters, memory and self-mythology, but most of all it a story of betrayal.”
Dubai-based Doshi won the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013 and a Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in 2014. Her debut novel is published in India by 4th Estate under the title Girl in White Cotton. The publisher called Doshi “a sly and searing debut from an unmissable new voice in literary fiction”.
Thompson said: “From the brutal first sentence, Avni’s writing held me fast on its gleaming hook. Disquieting and surgically precise, Burnt Sugar is a nuanced indictment (or possibly a painful acquittal) of the human heart, in all its ambivalence and multiplicity. And at the same time, it examines the troubled identity of modern middle class India: the psycho-social pressure points that shift beneath its surfaces, acting on women with particularly unforgiving force. I am thrilled to welcome Avni Doshi to the Hamish Hamilton list and to share her astonishing first novel with the world.”
Doshi says: “It’s an honour to be a part of Hamish Hamilton’s illustrious list and Hermione Thompson’s reputation as a brilliant editor precedes her. I’ve been working on this book for the last seven years, and to be able to send it out into the world is a dream come true.”
Abir Mukherjee has won the 2018 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize (£15,000) with his second novel, A Necessary Evil (Vintage). The historical crime tale, set in India in 1920, sees Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the assassination of a Maharajah's son.
Niso Smith, founder of The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation, which makes the awards, described the book as "an exciting example of how adventure writing can transport you to a different time and place, teach you something new, and truly allow you to lose yourself in a story."
Mukherjee said of his win: “I’m thrilled to have been awarded the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. It’s an honour for me to have had my work selected from a shortlist of such wonderful and talented authors. The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation do so much to support young writers and further the promotion of literacy around the world, and I hope to work closely with the Foundation to help further these goals and advance adventure writing as a genre.”
Elena Ferrante is to write a weekly newspaper column for the Guardian’s new look Weekend magazine starting on Saturday (20th January).
The regular column will cover the pseudonymous Italian novelist’s thoughts “on life, love, childhood, ageing, the female experience and everything in between”. Her inaugural column will focus on her first love.
According to a Guardian report, the author of the bestselling Neapolitan series said she was “attracted to the possibility of testing myself” with a regular column describing the experience “a bold, anxious exercise in writing”. The pieces will be translated by Ferrante’s regular collaborator Ann Goldstein.
The reclusive Italian author’s four-part series, published by Europa Editions, follows Elena Greco and her friend Raffaella Cerullo, who she has always called Lila, in the first year of primary school in 1950. Set against a dangerous and vibrant Naples, the story spans 60 years of their lives as Elena tries to unravel the mystery of her friend.
The announcement follows the launch of the Guardian in tabloid format on Monday (15th January). In addition to the refreshed Weekend magazine, the paper will also include the Review section revamped as a “beautiful and stylish books magazine”. Other sections include food magazine, Feast, as well as Travel and the listings supplement Guide.
Melissa Denes, editor of Weekend, revealed she was "thrilled to be working with Elena Ferrante on her first newspaper column” and described it as “a new adventure for her and for Guardian Weekend magazine.”
“Every week, she will be writing a personal piece, covering subjects from sex to ageing to the things that make her laugh. I can't wait to see where she will take us," Denes said.
Weekend has been redesigned as part of the Guardian’s move to tabloid format with the first new look issue appearing on Saturday (20th January).
In Chinelo Okparanta’s new novel Under the Udala Trees, a chance meeting between Ijeoma, a Christian Igbo, and Amina, a Muslim Hausa, begins a friendship that turns quickly to passion. “This was the beginning,” Okparanta writes. “Our bodies being touched by the fire that was each other’s flesh … Tingly and good and like everything perfect in the world.”
Ijeoma’s secure, stable childhood has already unravelled by then. The novel is set in 1968, one year into the Biafran conflict, and Ijeoma’s world is beset by “the ruckus of armored cars and shelling machines, bomber planes and their loud engines sending shock waves through our ears”. Things grow worse. Her father, “a man who liked to wallow in his thoughts”, becomes so consumed by sorrow for his massacred people that he refuses to seek refuge during an air raid over their town of Ojoto. When Ijeoma and her mother Adaora emerge from a nearby bunker, they discover his blood-soaked body.