Influx Press has signed US author Percival Everett and will publish his novel, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, in the UK for the first time next year.
Influx co-founder and Bookseller Rising Star Kit Caless acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to I Am Not Sidney Poitier, through Everett and his agent, Melanie Jackson at RCW in London. The north London-based indie press will publish the novel, featuring an introduction by British author Courttia Newland, in March 2020.
The US author has not been published in the UK in more than a decade, said Caless, who now has plans to publish more of Everett's backlist in 2021. Influx has acquired Percival's Damned If I Do direct from Everett's US publisher Graywolf. The novel, which will be published in March 2022, will have an introduction by Irensoen Okojie.
Caless said: "I first came across Percival Everett via the author Courttia Newland, who has been a strong advocate for Everett's work over many years. Once I'd read Erasure (his 2001 novel) and Glyph (2002), acquired by Lee Brackstone at Faber, I tried to get my hands on as many of his books as possible, which is pretty arduous considering you have to import them from the US.
"We decided that it was high time Everett's work came back to the UK and, now we're in a much different publishing climate than we were in 2001, an independent like Influx has the capacity to do this. We have a good relationship with Everett's publisher in the US, Graywolf, so I was very happy to work with them on acquiring several titles (more to come in 2021)."
Newland added: "Everett's a writer ignored by the industry because he's not considered "black" enough. I'm an author who considers himself ignored by the industry because my work is too black. At opposing ends of the scale, not to mention the planet, we converge. It at all possible, please find yourself a nice, comfortable place in which to curl up and read this phenomenal work. Dive in."
Everett is the author of nearly 30 books, including So Much Blue, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Erasure, and Glyph. He has received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction. He lives in Los Angeles.
Caless said: "To be honest, I was flabbergasted that he hasn't been published in the UK for well over a decade and over the moon that we could bring the genius of Percival Everett to our list. I Am Not Sidney Poitier is one of his finest novels. Hopefully British readers will take to this most overlooked writer in the way I have and we'll build a brand new fan base here."
Everett's "hilarious take on race, riches and fame in the US by an overlooked genius of storytelling" is one of a nine-strong list for Influx for 2020, that features a mixture of débuts, story collections and forgotten modern classics.