Children's indie Guppy Books is to publish Tsunami Girl, a part novel, part manga by Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by manga artist Chie Kutsuwada.
Publisher Bella Pearson acquired world rights from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. The title is scheduled for release in hardback in March 2021.
Tsunami Girl follows 15-year-old Yuko Hara Jones who gets caught up in the March 2011 Great Eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami. It is the story of a young person trying to find out who they are, while surviving the natural disaster. The manga pages in the novel convey Yuko’s attempt at telling her own story through her art, incorporating elements of Japanese folklore and ghost stories.
Sedgwick previously co-authored illustrated novel Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black (Walker), which has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2020.
Sedgwick commented: "Through meeting survivors and my extensive field work in Fukushima, alongside my work as a writer and my two decades experience as a therapist, I knew this was a story I had to tell. The hardest thing was to find a version of the story that was emotionally true and valid, and honoured so many of the stories I had heard or read."
Kutsuwada, who was born in Japan, added: "That earthquake traumatised me even though I was not directly affected. Since then I have been avoiding to know much about it because it hurts. When Julian contacted me, I thought this is a great chance for me to face my fear and to understand the real impact of that tragedy on those people. I am honoured to join the team and I will do my best to realise Julian’s and Yuko’s thoughts visually."