And Other Stories is set to publish the debut novel of British poet and former human rights lawyer Mona Arshi.
Publisher Stefan Tobler and senior editor Tara Tobler acquired world English rights to Somebody Loves You directly from the author, on a recommendation by contributing editor Preti Taneja.
Described as a "hybrid novel", the fictionalised memoir intertwines poetry to explore family life. According to the synopsis, the debut reveals the "infinite tiny wounds of family life: the damage we do to those we love most, and the power of love to heal that damage and help us forgive in the face of unspeakable grief and trauma that permeates our DNA".
Tara Tobler said: "Books like this are a gift. Its segments are small and sit lightly, almost shyly, on the page—yet each is so perfectly formed, so exact in its curves and turns, so strong as you sound each sentence and so supple in its flow, that it fascinates completely—it rests in your hand with the fragility and impishness of an egg. We loved the bravery of it, its willingness to follow its own courses and echoes, its central voice that refuses shaping and sometimes even refuses sound. We're intensely proud to be publishing Somebody Loves You and are honoured to be working with Mona on this project."
Arshi worked as a human rights lawyer for a decade, before receiving a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her debut poetry collection Small Hands (Liverpool University Press) was published in 2015, winning the Forward Prize Felix Dennis Prize for best first collection.
Arshi said: "After writing poetry for a decade, I thought I had better attend to the voice and the story that was tapping away so insistently inside my head. What emerged was something quite unexpected. A novel, yes, but with a beating poetic heart. Right from the outset And Other Stories knew what the book was doing and what it was risking in terms of narration, form but also language."
Somebody Loves You will be published in autumn 2021.