Canongate c.e.o. Jamie Byng has acquired rights to Priya Basil’s "wise and engrossing" Be My Guest, with the book on food, family, immigration and cultures of hospitality slated for publication in November 2019.
Byng acquird world rights excluding German language to Be My Guest from Nora Mercurio at Suhrkamp and US rights have since been pre-empted by Sonny Mehta for Knopf. The book will be edited by Simon Thorogood, Canongate’s editorial drector.
Canongate said Be My Guest moves between countries and cultures, between abrupt changes of fortune and between the private and political aspects of being host, guest and stranger. "We live in a world where some have too much and others not enough, where immigrants and refugees are both welcomed and vilified, and where most of us spend less and less time cooking and eating together. Priya Basil invites us in to explore the meaning and limits of hospitality today, and in doing so makes a passionate plea for a kinder, more welcoming world and reminds us that we have more in common than divides us," reads the synopsis.
Byng said: “Cooking, sharing and eating are three of the most important things we do as a species and these essential activities lie at the very heart of Be My Guest. Priya’s book reads like a wide-ranging conversation about all those things and her thought-provoking ruminations on hospitality, a subject that she grapples with in the broadest of ways, are consistently dazzling. We are delighted to be publishing this wise, engrossing, generous, entertaining and timely book.”
Food writer Nigel Slater has called Be My Guest “an intimate, delicious and thought-provoking story, told with warmth, humour and generosity”.
Basil's first novel, Ishq and Mushq (Transworld, 2009) was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writer's Prize, and she also been nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is the co-founder of Authors for Peace, a political platform for writers and artists.