Atlantic Publishing has bought an “extraordinary memoir”, in what is the company’s first six-figure deal since Allen & Unwin took full ownership of the house.
Publishing director Margaret Stead acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Refugee Boy’s Journey by Gulwali Passarlay from Anna Carmichael at Abner Stein, on behalf of Foundry.
Passarlay fled Afghanistan aged 12 after his father was killed in a gun battle with the US army for hiding Taliban fighters.
He was trafficked into Iran and from there began a 12 month odyssey across Europe. He was imprisoned, suffered hunger, cruelty, brutality and nearly drowned in a tiny boat on the Mediterranean.
Passarlay survived and made it to Britain where he was fostered, excelled at school and won a place at Manchester University. In 2012 he was chosen to carry the Olympic torch. He is now 21 and set to graduate with a degree in philosophy and politics. His ultimate goal is to run for the presidency of Afghanistan.
Stead said: “Atlantic Books is delighted and honoured to be publishing The Lightless Sky, Gulwali Passarlay’s extraordinary memoir. This is an urgent story of our times. The harrowing journey from Afghanistan to Manchester – made by a 12-year-old boy – is one which everyone will respond to. The subsequent journey of integration and success is equally compelling. Gulwali is an inspirational role model, a young man of great honesty and bravery.”
Atlantic will publish in £18.99 hardback in November 2015.