Canongate to publish 'ambitious' auto-fiction about living with disability

Canongate to publish 'ambitious' auto-fiction about living with disability

Canongate has landed a darkly funny memoir of loss and love by Jarred McGinnis.

Described as a "boldly ambitious work of auto-fiction", as yet untitled, it tells the story of McGinnis' life before and after a car accident, in which his passenger is killed and he wakes up in hospital to find he can no longer use his legs.

As well as exploring "what it means to come to terms with a broken body", McGinnis writes about a tense relationship between father and son, having to return to the home he ran away from as a teen and living again with the father he has not seen for 10 years.

Canongate will publish in 2021 after editor-at-large Ellah Wakatama Allfrey acquired rights in the book from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbitt.

Part memoir part fiction, the book is "uncompromising in its honesty and exhilarating in its literary ambition", according to its publisher, and suffused with McGinnis’s "acerbic, irreverent humour and stylistic flair". 

"We need more of this kind of writing about living with disability and Jarred does so with wit, dark humour and a fierce tenacity that is both captivating and inspiring," Wakatama Allfrey added.

McGinnis is the co-founder of The Special Relationship, a series of literary evenings, and an associate writer for Spread the Word. He was also the creative director for 'Moby-Dick Unabridged', a four-day immersive multimedia reading at the Southbank Centre.

Commenting on his book, he said: "With this story and its play between memoir and fiction, I wanted to capture the intimacy, sometimes imagined sometimes real, between character, author and reader. Brautigan, Bukowski, Fante, the back catalogue of Canongate is replete with the American authors who guided the younger me toward a faith in words and stories. For years I have watched Ellah champion authors whose stories have fit the missing pieces of this bewildering complex human existence. There is no better editor to help my story into the world.”