HarperCollins imprint 4th Estate has bought a novel and a non-fiction “companion piece” by Mexican author Valeria Luiselli.
Anna Kelly, commissioning editor at the HarperCollins imprint, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Laurence Laluyaux at RCW.
Lost Children Archives is about a Mexican-American family whose lives become intertwined with displaced Central American children fleeing from violence. Robin Desser at Knopf pre-empted the US rights to the novel from Nicole Aragi of the Aragi agency. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions is published in the US by Coffee House Press and will be published by 4th Estate this autumn, with Lost Children Archives to follow in January 2019.
Luiselli is the author of two novels originally written in Spanish, Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth (Granta), and Sidewalks, a collection of essays, all of which which were published in English translation in the UK by Granta. Her work has been translated into 15 languages, and she is one of the recently announced Bogota 39 list of the best 39 Latin American writers under 40.
Kelly described Lost Children Archives as a "classic in the making". She said: “Valeria Luiselli is one of the most brilliant young writers working today anywhere in the world, and to be able to welcome her to 4th Estate is a great honour. Her English-language debut Lost Children Archives is a classic in the making, as moving and entertaining as it is staggeringly ambitious, and full of urgent, searching questions – about love and family; borders and exile; storytelling and myth-making; about civilization and its limits; and how far we can protect others from suffering."
Kelly added: "The experience of reading it, alongside her essay Tell Me How It Ends, was a powerful reminder to me of the crucial importance of literature, in today’s world more than ever."
Luiselli said that “after years getting lost inside one’s soul” it was a “privilege” to work with the 4th Estate team. She said: “I am thankful – exultant, in fact – that my manuscript landed under the gaze of an editor like Anna Kelly, and that the publicity will be in Michelle Kane’s hands [4th Estate’s PR and publishing director], well known for having some serious alchemic powers.”
The imprint recently announced plans to beef up its translation list with Kelly taking responsibility for seeking out more writers to translate to English.