Hodder & Stoughton has acquired a debut novel, The Maid’s Room by Fiona Mitchell, about the maltreatment of domestic workers in Singapore.
The book, publishing in November, was inspired by the author’s own experience of life in Singapore. It also draws on her extensive research of the lives of domestic workers there, many of whom, Mitchel says, aren't afforded legal rights and are forced to work six to seven days a week.
Set in Singapore, The Maid’s Room follows the lives of two Filipina maids, sisters Dolly and Tala, who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.
Kate Howard, publisher, general fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to The Maid’s Room and one further book from Rowan Lawton, at Furniss and Lawton. The deal was made at auction and rights have also been sold in Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway.
Howard said: “The Maid’s Room is an extraordinary debut novel about the maltreatment of maids, as seen through the eyes of two very gutsy, bright and vivacious sisters. Their story takes place in Singapore, but they could be any woman working in domestic servitude in any town or city across the world. It’s a compelling, insightful and immensely funny read, dotted with incredibly poignant stories. I am excited to be publishing this bold, thought-provoking and sometimes shocking novel in November.”
Mitchell said: “When I moved to Singapore, I was struck by the glaring divide between Western ex-pats living in luxury and their often poverty-stricken helpers who suffered various humiliations including being issued with curfews and having to undergo regular pregnancy tests. I wanted to know how the helpers really felt about their situation, so started to ask lots of questions. Their candid replies inspired me to write The Maid’s Room and I'm absolutely ecstatic that Hodder & Stoughton is going to publish it.”
The Maid’s Room will publish in hardback and e-book on 16th November 2017.