Janelle Monáe's debut fiction collection scooped by HarperVoyager

Janelle Monáe's debut fiction collection scooped by HarperVoyager

HarperVoyager has scooped a collection of Afrofuturistic short stories by American singer-songwriter and actor Janelle Monáe.

UK publishing director Natasha Bardon bought UK commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Matilda Forbes Watson at WME. US editorial director David Pomerico acquired North American rights from Eve Atterman and Suzanne Gluck at WME. Both territories will publish The Memory Librarian and Other Stories from the World of Dirty Computer simultaneously on 19th April 2022.

The book sees the singer joined by “an array of collaborating storytellers” to expand the world of her third album “Dirty Computer”. Its publisher said: “Monáe’s 2018 'Dirty Computer' introduced a world in which thoughts–as a means of self-conception–could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, AI, or other, your life and sentience was dictated by they who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate. That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

“Picking up from that moment of escape, this story collection explores how different threads of liberation–queerness, race, gender plurality, and love–become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.”

Monáe said: “As a reader and writer of science fiction since childhood, it is a dream to have the opportunity to expand 'Dirty Computer' into a literary project. Writers, specifically Black, queer and genderqueer, are at the forefront of pushing the creative boundaries of sci-fi and speculative storytelling. I'm honored to be collaborating with a new generation of creators as we expand this tale, that began with an album and emotion picture, into a larger world of new and familiar characters. Like Jane 57821, so many of us–myself included–are on a journey to thrive more and protect our freedom. I hope this book can be a gesture of appreciation to all my dirty computers and fandroids who have supported and inspired my vision thus far."

Bardon added: “I’m so excited that Janelle Monae has decided to publish her first fiction title with HarperVoyager. An already powerful voice in narrative storytelling, Janelle’s book promises to dig deeper into the themes of love, identity and acceptance that she is already exploring in other mediums.”