Borough Press snaps up 'cutting and immersive' novel by Kuang

Borough Press snaps up 'cutting and immersive' novel by Kuang

The Borough Press has snapped up a "cutting and immersive" novel by Rebecca F Kuang set in the publishing world, which takes on questions of diversity and racism in the industry and the erasure of Asian-American voices and history.

World English rights for Yellowface were acquired from Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates. HarperVoyager publishing director Natasha Bardon and TBP editorial director Ann Bissell acquired for the UK list; US rights went to May Chen for William Morrow. The book will be published simultaneously in the UK and US in 2023.

The novel is set in the contemporary world of publishing, centring around writer friends June Hayward and the much more successful Athena Liu. When June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she steals her just-finished manuscript and sends it to her agent as her own, rebranding herself Juniper Song “complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo”.

Kuang was born in China, grew up in Dallas, Texas and has studied at Georgtown, Cambridge and Yale. She has previously published The Poppy Wars fantasy trilogy which Bardon published at HarperVoyager. The imprint will also pubisher her newest fantasy title, Babel, in May 2022.  

Kuang said: "The idea for Yellowface came to me fully-formed, a culmination of all the frustrations, thorny debates, and unanswerable questions I’d been chewing over throughout my time in publishing, and once I started typing I found I could not stop. I’m delighted to remain at home with HarperCollins for my transition into literary fiction."


Bardon added: "Rebecca is a brilliant talent with a bright future, and I’m thrilled she’s staying at HarperCollins to publish Yellowface, a clever, timely novel brimming with bite. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next."