Doubleday has acquired Deacon King Kong by National Book Award Winner James McBride.
Kirsty Dunseath, publishing director of Doubleday Fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Danielle Bukowski of Sterling Lord Literistic.
The book, which is an Oprah Book Club pick in the US, is set in a Brooklyn housing project in the late 1960s during a time of rapid change.
According to the publisher's synopsis, the novel centres around "a shambling church deacon called Sportcoat who shoots—for no apparent reason—the local drug-dealer. The repercussions of that moment draw in the whole community, from Sportscoat’s best friend, Hot Sausage, to the local Italian mobsters, the police, and the stalwart ladies of the Five Ends Baptist Church. Deacon King Kong is a book about a community under threat, about the ways people pull together in an age when the old rules are being rewritten."
McBride is the author of the The Color of Water and The Good Lord Bird, which is currently being made into a television series starring Ethan Hawke. In 2015 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.
Dunseath said: "It is an absolute privilege to be publishing a writer of the calibre of James McBride. Deacon King Kong is full of heart and warmth. There is a generosity of spirit here, a celebration of what draws communities together, despite all our human flaws and foibles."
Bukowski said: "James McBride is an unparalleled writer but Deacon King Kong does what all great fiction should do: it portrays a world in all its complexities and gets the reader out of their own head for a while. It's a lot of fun, too."
Doubleday will publish Deacon King Kong in e-book this June, with a physical edition and audio to follow.