Dialogue Books has acquired Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton, a "heart-wrenching" story set in 1910 Philadelphia delving into the memories of an emancipated slave at a time her son's life hangs in the balance.
Sharmaine Lovegrove acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the title from agent Elise Dillsworth of the Elise Dillsworth Agency.
In the book, emancipated slave Spring's son lies in a hospital bed. He has been charged with committing a crime on the streets of Philadelphia. But is he guilty? The evidence - a black man driving a streetcar into a store window - could lead to his death. Surrounded by the wounded and ghosts, Spring is forced to reconstruct her story in order to face the prospect of a future without her child. With the help of her dead sister, newspaper clippings and reconstructed memories, she shatters the silences that have governed her life in order to lead Edward home.
The book's author, Battle-Felton, was born in Pennsylvania and raised in New Jersey. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University where she is an associate lecturer.
Battle-Felton said writing Remembered allowed her to explore boundaries - "the ones we create and the ones others create in spite of us".
"Through writing characters in pursuit of home, justice, and self, I learned a lot about myself, the ways I engage with the world, and what's important to me as a mother, a daughter, a woman," she said. "I was fortunate to have had dedicated readers in my thesis supervisor Jenn Ashworth and then in my agent, Elise Dillsworth."
Lovegrove added: "It's an editors dream for such an original voice to land on our desk. Yvonne's insightful, heart-wrenching story which highlights the painful ancestral reverberations from the legacy of the slave trade with echoes of the political situation today is haunting yet illuminating and the perfect fit for Dialogue Books."
The book will be published in hardback, trade paperback and e-book in February 2019.