Picador has bought a memoir examining loss, family and migration by Dylan Thomas Prize-winning poet Kayo Chingonyi after a five-way auction.
Commissioning editor Kishani Widyaratna acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, plus audio, from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander. Picador will publish Prodigal in 2023. Chingonyi’s poetry collections will continue to be published in the UK by Chatto & Windus.
Shortly after his father’s death, six-year-old Chingonyi was smuggled out of Zambia and taken to the UK. Later, when Chingonyi became a celebrated poet, his paternal family was finally able to contact him again, and Chingonyi realised it was time to go back to visit Zambia.
“Prodigal tells the affecting story of that return and the life that led up to it, showing how immigrant experiences are often about inhabiting the gaps,” Picador said. Chingonyi will travel to Zambia in 2020 to research the book, which will also feature images and original poems.