Viking has acquired world rights to an "electrifying" new novel by Fatima Bhutto called The Runaways. The novel is set between Pakistan, England and the Middle East and tells the story of three young people who leave their homes in the UK and Pakistan to join an insurgent movement in Iraq.
Editorial director Katy Loftus acquired world rights from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown for publication in spring 2019.
Loftus said writing about women’s lives now occupied a central space in contemporary literature and Bhutto's book, also about the subjugation and subsequent rebellion of a young Pakistani woman, made "an important and challenging addition to the discourse".
"What most excited me about Fatima Bhutto’s incredible novel is the way she takes you into the world of her characters, and through their eyes, changes your view of it. Sunny, Anita Rose and Monty captured my heart, and I was right there with them, even as they made the most catastrophic decision of their lives," said Loftus.
"We are living through exciting times, when writing about women’s lives is occupying a central space in contemporary literature, and Anita Rose’s story – a young Pakistani woman whose subjugation by those around her is at the root of her rebellion – makes an important and challenging addition to the discourse. Fatima Bhutto takes her subject matter and imbues it with a beauty and a humanness that is both awe-inspiring and compelling. The team at Viking are hugely excited to be publishing this sensational novel from one of our finest writers."
Bhutto was born in Kabul in 1982, but grew up in exile in Syria after her father's assassination. She later became a journalist reporting on conflicts in Lebanon, Iran and Cuba. The Runaways is her second novel following The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (2013, Viking), set in northern Pakistan, which was longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction.
"It was with Viking that I first published fiction and I am thrilled that they will be home to my second novel, The Runaways," said Bhutto. "Set between Pakistan, England and the Middle East, The Runaways is about young people struggling to survive in a world on fire. Writing the novel was a journey of many years, fraught with the politics and anxieties of recent times. It is a story very close to my heart and it is a great happiness to have it in the hands of Katy Loftus and her team at Viking."