W&N signs refugee family history

W&N signs refugee family history

Weidenfeld & Nicolson is publishing I Must Belong Somewhere by Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Dean.

Pitched as "a real-life Everything Is Illuminated" (Penguin), I Must Belong Somewhere is a journey into Dean’s family history. It is also a meditation on what it means to be a refugee, drawing parallels between the events of the thirties and the present-day crisis.

Dean’s grandfather was rescued as an Austrian Jew in 1939 and taken to London on the Kindertransport. When the present-day refugee crisis became front-page news, Dean sat down to read his grandfather’s diaries and found an account "of courage, tragedy and assimilation".

With his great grandfather a refugee of WW1, too, I Must Belong Somewhere takes his ancestors' histories, moving from East London to Galicia, from Vienna to Cologne, to produce "a highly personal account of the unbearable repetitions of history".

Sophie Buchan, commissioning editor at W&N, bought UK and Commonwealth rights in I Must Belong Somewhere from Chris Wellbelove at Greene & Heaton. Hardback publication is scheduled for August 2017.

Buchan said: "This book combines the appeal of "Who Do You Think You Are" and The Hare With Amber Eyes with an extraordinary contemporary relevance. Dean has a true writer’s ability to draw parallels and to move seamlessly from the personal to the political."

Dean said: "For years, I've been vaguely aware of my family history, and that its details lay in two huge bulky binders and an old dictated document. I'm delighted that I now have the opportunity to explore all that came before me in depth, and commemorate the sacrifices my ancestors made in a time when all they went through is happening over and over again..."

Dean is senior writer for Sunday Times Culture. He has also contributed pieces to Sunday Times News Review, and occasionally writes for the Pool.