Jonathan Ball Publishers to publish Sisonke Msimang memoir
Jonathan Ball Publishers has won a fierce bidding battle for Sisonke Msimang’s memoir and first book, acquiring Southern African rights from agent Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann, London. Jonathan Ball will publish the memoir, Always Another Country, in October 2017. Msimang is one of the most assured voices commenting on the South African present – often humorously; sometimes deeply movingly.
Jonathan Ball Publisher Ester Levinrad is confident that Msimang’s memoirs will find a broad and highly receptive audience: “Once in a while you are fortunate enough to work with a writer who crystallises what makes publishing in South Africa so exciting, telling a personal story that could only have a local genesis, yet with a potential which defies borders. That is Always Another Country, to me –Sisonke’s writing helps me to make sense not only of the country but the world in which we live.”
Msimang writes about her exile childhood in Zambia and Kenya, young adulthood and college years in North America, and return to South Africa in the euphoric 1990s. She reflects candidly on her discontent and disappointment with present-day South Africa but also on her experiences of family, romance, and motherhood, with the novelist’s talent for character and pathos. Her bitter-sweet memoir is at heart a chronicle of a coming-of-age. As Isobel Dixon said, “while well-known [South African] political figures appear in these pages, it is an intimate story, a testament to family bonds and sisterhood”.
Sisonke Msimang currently lives in Perth, Australia, where she is Programme Director for the Centre for Stories. She is regularly in Johannesburg where she continues to speak and comment on current affairs. Sisonke has degrees from Macalester College, Minnesota and the University of Cape Town, is a Yale World Fellow, an Aspen New Voices Fellow, and was a Ruth First Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand. She regularly contributes to The Guardian, The Daily Maverick and The New York Times and has given a popular TED Talk which touches on events which appear in her upcoming memoir. Msimang started writing Always Another Country in 2013 as political events in South Africa worsened in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre. She will be in South Africa to launch the book later in the year.
The many lives of the Nelson Mandela Comic
We first published Nelson Mandela: The Authorised Comic back in 2008 so it’s strange to write about a book nearly ten years later. Some books, however, take on a life of their own and this is one that recently came across my desk again when we sold publishing rights to Robinson, an imprint of Little Brown in London. Robinson is run by the wonderful publisher Duncan Proudfoot who happened to grow up in the same street as I did. But that’s a story for another day.
The Nelson Mandela Comic first came to life not as a book but as series of eight comic books. They were a collaboration between Umlando Wezithombe and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The comic books were distributed to children around South Africa, and were also serialised in various newspapers.
I came across them – I don’t remember how – and immediately saw the potential of putting them together into a single volume. It wasn’t long before we had a deal and the first edition hit the South African market.
Since then the rights have been sold to the Netherlands, France, Spain and Korea. Each with a cover design to appeal to their own market. Open the pages and there is Nelson Mandela speaking in Dutch, Spanish, Korean...
In South Africa we published a second edition, this time in paperback and with teacher’s notes at the back for teachers wishing to use it in the classroom.
One day I got a call from the Spanish publisher at Ediciones Escalera. It was two or three years after publication of their edition and he was breathless with excitement: ‘Jeremy, we have sold 100 000 copies to the education department in Ecuador in South America. They are going to give one to every child in grade 8. You don’t know what this means – we were about to go under and now we can continue publishing!’ In publishing, stories of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat are all too rare. I’ll drink a glass of champagne to that.
Now back to the latest deal. Constable have cleverly bought all language rights still available. They will publish in English in the UK and Commonwealth, but will also sell language rights to publishers in countries I haven’t a hope of reaching. Long live the comic.
Jeremy Boraine, Publishing Director
Wilbur Smith is back!
"That time is upon us. I can feel it coming. That evil barbarian will not be satisfied until he has engulfed the whole world in war and death. I fear for us all."
The worldwide number one bestseller Wilbur Smith introduces us to the bravest new member of the famed family, Saffron Courtney, in a new action packed historical novel War Cry.
Read more here.
War Cry will is available from bookstores now.
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Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
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