HarperCollins imprint 4th Estate is to publish the account of journalist Justine van der Leun's investigation into the 1993 murder of an American woman titled We Are Not Such Things.
Anna Kelly, commissioning editor at 4th Estate, bought UK and Commonwealth rights to We Are Not Such Things from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown, on behalf of Anna Stein at ICM.
We Are Not Such Things is the account of van der Leun’s four-year investigation into the murder of a young American woman Amy Biehl in a South African township in 1993, the men who went down for the crime, and the "surprising" direction events took from there.
Kelly said: “With the narrative pull of 'Serial' or 'Making a Murderer', this is a riveting story told by a gifted observer, and a rich, nuanced portrayal of a society still fractured and haunted by apartheid. Intelligent, ambitious and troubling, it gripped me from the first page – and opened up the complexities of modern South Africa in a way that I am sure other readers will find as compelling and fascinating as I did.”
In 1993, Amy Biehl, a young, white American studying in South Africa, dropped her friend off at a township on the margins of Cape Town. While she was there, she was surrounded by a mob of radical black militants and stabbed and stoned to death. Afterwards followed an 11-month murder trial which led to the killers eventually being granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - a court-like restorative justice body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid in the 1990s.
The story gained even more attention when Biehl's parents hired two of the convicted killers to work at a charitable foundation set up in their daughter's name.
4th Estate will publish We Are Not Such Things at the end of June 2016. Spiegel & Grau will publish simultaneously in the US.