Dialogue Books has scooped a “mighty” novel from Kit Fan, set in the last shanty town of Hong Kong before its 1997 handover to China.
Publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, for Diamond Hill from Matthew Turner at RCW. It will be published in spring 2021.
The book follows the return to the of a recovering heroin addict, Buddha, as he tries to salvage what’s left from Diamond Hill, a place he hoped to forget. Its synopsis explains: “Structured around the lunisolar calendar and set over the course of a year, Kit Fan’s brilliant and boisterous debut is poised, incisive and timely meditation on power, poverty, love, religion, memory, displacement, and nationhood, drawing comparisons with Kazuo Ishiguro, JM Coetzee, and Tan Twan Eng with a lyricism that’s utterly unique.”
Fan, born and educated in Hong Kong, moved to the UK aged 21. Writing both poetry and narrative fiction, he won a Northern Writers Award in 2018 for Diamond Hill as a novel-in-progress.
Lovegrove said she had followed his work since judging The Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize which he was shortlisted for. She said: “Diamond Hill is dramatic yet subtle, global yet local, historical yet contemporary and in Kit Fan’s hand the world, its character and the politics of Diamond Hill soar majestically.”
Fan added: “Diamond Hill haunted me the moment I started giving voice to the trapped but enterprising characters in the last shanty town in Hong Kong. It’s still haunting me after I’ve written it, as the city is struggling in a renewed impasse.”