Faber has landed William Atkins' Exiles: Three Island Journeys, an "empathic exploration" of the banishment of three historical figures.
The publisher acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights from Patrick Walsh at the PEW literary agency. Publication is scheduled for 5th May 2022.
Atkins, the author of The Immeasurable World and The Moor (both Faber), has documented his travels to New Caledonia in the Pacific, St Helena in the south Atlantic and Sakhalin off the Siberian coast, to trace the exile of Louise Michel, Zulu prince Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and Ukrainian revolutionary Lev Shternberg respectively. Each were exiled at the height of European colonialism, and "sacrificed freedom and home to larger ideas of freedom and home".
"[Atkins] illuminates the solidarities that emerged between the exiled subject, on the one hand, and the colonised subject, on the other," the synopsis explains. "Rendering these figures and the places they were forced to occupy in shimmering detail, Atkins reveals deeply human truths about displacement, colonialism and what it means to have and to lose a home."
Laura Hassan, associate publisher, said “I feel extremely lucky to work on this mesmerising book. It is a moving, empathetic exploration of exile that will resonate in our era of mass human displacement. Part biography, part travel, part history, Exiles will cement Atkins’ reputation as one of our greatest writers of place.”
Atkins’ first book, The Moor, was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and his second, The Immeasurable World, won the Stanford Dolman Travel Writing Award. In 2016 he was awarded the British Library Eccles Prize. His journalism and reviews have appeared in Harper’s, the Guardian and the New York Times.
He said: “‘Exile’ is a word that has haunted me all my adult life; this book is my attempt to grapple with its meanings, by following the journeys of three people I came to love and admire."