Fourth Estate has triumphed in a four-way publisher auction for Daphne Palasi Andreades’ “evocative and original” debut novel Brown Girls in a two-book deal.
In her first acquisition since joining from Picador as editorial director this month, Kishani Widyaratna acquired British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency. Brown Girls will publish in hardback in spring 2022.
The publisher said: “Brown Girls is a sweeping, coming-of-age story centered on working and middle class immigrant girls and their families living in Queens, New York. The narrative follows the course of their lives, exploring the depth of community bonds as well as the effects of racism, sexism and colonialism across generations. From early school friendships in Queens, the girls must wrestle with familial expectations to be good, obedient daughters, come to terms with whether it’s possible to love and represent their roots, and attempt to reconcile who they are and where they’re from with where they want to go, and still find their way home again. Musical and propulsive, Brown Girls offers a beautiful collective portrait of the experiences of women of colour today from an extraordinary new literary voice, with shades of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl Woman Other.”
The author is a writer from Queens, New York. An excerpt of Brown Girls was awarded the Columbia University 2018 Henfield Prize, and was selected as winner of the Kenyon Review’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest by Mia Alvar.
She said: “I am thrilled that my debut and second novel have found a home with Fourth Estate, who have published authors I deeply admire, including, Arundhati Roy, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jeffrey Eugenides, and many others. I am especially excited to work with Kishani Widyaratna, who, at Picador, edited and acquired some of my favourite contemporary writers: Raven Leilani, Mieko Kawakami, and Jamaica Kincaid, to name just a few. I am confident she will champion my vision as an artist to celebrate the lives of people of colour and to craft fiction that is formally innovative. I am incredibly honoured to be her first acquisition at Fourth Estate.”
Widyaratna added: “Brown Girls is lyrically inventive, brilliantly observed and deeply affecting, offering a powerful portrait of the journey from girlhood to womanhood for women of colour. I fell for this book from the very first page, as a reader, as a publisher and as a brown girl, so I’m thrilled that it is my first acquisition at 4th Estate. I can't wait for readers everywhere to discover this unforgettable novel and the remarkable talent of Daphne Palasi Andreades.”