Bloomsbury is to publish Devotion by Kevin Jared Hosein, after securing the title at auction for a "major" sum.
The novel, set in 1940s Trinidad and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, follows the intertwining lives of a wealthy couple and the poor families who live in the barracks below their farm, after the mysterious disappearance of the husband leads his wife to hire one of the barracks' farmhands as a watchman. Described as a novel with "a huge moral canvas", the book interrogates class and the consequences of powerlessness.
Alexis Kirschbaum, associate publisher, acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and audio rights to the novel from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates. US rights were acquired at auction by Gabriella Doob at Ecco.
Hosein lives in Trinidad and Tobago. He was the winner of the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018, and of the Caribbean regional prize in 2015.
"The seed of Devotion was planted during a simple interview I did with my grandfather," Hosein said. "Eventually, with research and conversation, I was able to wade through the shadow of the world of 1940s central Trinidad and capture the desperation of those who dwelled in that darkness. I'm thoroughly exhilarated to be working with Alexis Kirschbaum and the passionate team at Bloomsbury, whom I know will elevate this novel. I'm also very proud to be doing this from my home country of Trinidad and Tobago, which I hope will inspire the many other writers who are based here."
Kirschbaum added: "Devotion tells a story about community, family, power and violence with propulsive energy, and with an expertly orchestrated moral tension at its heart. The characterisation is accomplished and devastating. I am thrilled to be bringing Kevin Jared Hosein and this staggering novel to our list."
Bloomsbury will publish the novel as a major lead title in August 2022, backed by a significant marketing and publicity campaign.
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