Hari Kunzru moves from Hamish Hamilton to S&S UK for new literary thriller

Hari Kunzru moves from Hamish Hamilton to S&S UK for new literary thriller

Award-winning novelist Hari Kunzru has moved to Simon & Schuster UK after 17 years at Hamish Hamilton, with literary thriller Red Pill set for publication in 2020.

S&S UK's c.e.o. and publisher Ian Chapman bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Tracy Bohan at The Wylie Agency. This will be Scribner’s first publication with Kunzru whose previous books have been published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK. Publication is slated for autumn 2020 on the Scribner imprint.

The Brooklyn-based author has written five previous novels and has been with Hamish Hamilton since his prize-winning debut, The Impressionist, in 2002. His most recent novel, White Tears, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 2017.

Set in Berlin, Paris, Scotland and New York, Red Pill is “a far-reaching novel in every sense,” the publisher said. “An unnamed narrator leaves his family in Brooklyn to take up a three-month residency at the Deuter Centre in Berlin: a progressive foundation which aims to foster ‘the full potential of the individual human spirit’. His dreams of devoting himself to pure artistic endeavour are quickly upset, however, when he finds his every move being monitored by his hosts. Even more unsettling is his growing obsession with a strange and violent television cop show that displays influences from some alarming and long-forgotten sources. When he meets the show’s creator, the obsession takes a more sinister turn and leads him to question the foundations of everything that he had previously believed to be true.”

Chapman described Red Pill as “a literary thriller in the truest sense”. He added: “The thrills derive as much from Hari’s virtuosic dissection of ideas as they do from the almost Lynchian atmosphere he evokes. He conjures up a narrative that is gripping, disturbing, tender and frequently (and perhaps surprisingly) funny. This is one of the most enjoyable and stimulating novels that I have read in a long time. We are thrilled and honoured to be publishing it.”

Scribner editorial director Chris White added: “This is an outrageously good novel. Hari has filtered the insane and terrifying issues of today through an intellect deeply versed in their historical and philosophical context. He has created a fantastically entertaining novel of ideas that never compromises the deeply moral aesthetic that underpins it. We are delighted and proud that Hari has chosen to make Scribner his new home.”

Kunzru's work has been translated into 21 languages, and his short stories and journalism have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian, and the New Yorker. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The New York Public Library, and The American Academy in Berlin. He won various prizes including 2002 Betty Trask Prize and the 2003 Somerset Maugham award and was also shortlisted for several awards, including the 2002 Whitbread First Novel Award. 

He said: “I’m very excited to be joining the Scribner imprint. It is a house with a storied history and it is a great honour to be part of that.'