Prize-winning writer Kapka Kassabova is moving to Jonathan Cape in a two-book deal, with first title, Elixir, exploring the human hunger for healing and a search for a cure.
Bea Hemming, deputy publishing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Alba Zeigler-Bailey at the Wylie Agency. Elixir is scheduled for publication in spring 2023. North American rights to Elixir were acquired by Ethan Nosowsky, editorial director at Graywolf Press.
Its synopsis states: “Kassabova’s quest centres on the valleys and mountains of the ancient Mesta-Nestos River, one of the last pristine natural realms in Europe and home to a diverse human and non-human population. The book follows the river from source to delta, but Kassabova’s purpose is not travel but to spend time with communities and individuals who have an intimate relationship with their environment. Each chapter explores suffering and the transcendence of suffering, and in each she attempts to emerge with some kind of elixir. Written in the time of global pandemic and climate crisis, and powered by a deep sense of loss and urgency, Elixir is a major new book by an exceptional writer and storyteller.”
Kassabova is a writer of narrative non-fiction, poetry and fiction. She was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1973, emigrated with her family to New Zealand in the 1990s, and since 2005 has lived in Scotland. In 2017's Border (Granta) and 2020's To The Lake (Granta) she explored the ancient trans-boundary human geography of the southern Balkans. Border won the 2018 British Academy Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, the Edward Stanford Dolman Book of the Year, the 2017 Saltire Society Book of the Year, and the inaugural 2018 Highland Book Prize.
She said: “I am excited to be joining the Jonathan Cape family with its deeply diverse ecosystem of books and genres, and couldn’t be happier that this is happening especially at this time and with this book. I particularly look forward to working with Bea Hemming.”
Hemming added: “Kapka Kassabova is undoubtedly one of the most talented non-fiction writers working in Britain today and I am absolutely delighted that she will be joining our list. She brings deep humanity, wisdom and rigour to everything she writes. Elixir will be a spellbinding book, which speaks powerfully to the times we are living in. I can’t wait to share it with the world.”