Myriad Editions has signed the début graphic novel by animator and former Calais refugee Majid Adin.
The publisher acquired world rights directly from the author for Hamid and Shakespeare. It will be published on 23rd April, the 405th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
In the book, a chance spotting from the back of a refrigerated lorry of a poster marking Shakespeare’s 400th birthday spurs a refugee’s imagination to transport himself from his detention cell to a performance of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" at London’s Globe Theatre.
Its synopsis explains: "As we move between the 21st and 17th centuries, Shakespeare introduces Hamid both to a promised new land, and to a series of well-known plays through which Hamid tells his own experiences: of interrogation, of his journey from home: crossing the sea, getting lost in the forest, his months spent in the Calais Jungle refugee camp, and his arrival in the UK in the back of a refrigerated lorry. In turn, Shakespeare teaches Hamid how to speak English and how to behave as he navigates the London Underground, and gives him a helping hand at the Home Office."
Adin is an artist and animator from Iran, now living in West Hampstead. He was forced to leave Iran, having been briefly imprisoned and politically exiled from Tehran after his blog upset the regime. He journeyed through Europe, spent several months in the Calais "jungle", and after many attempts to make the crossing, finally arrived in the UK in a refrigerated van on 20th April 2016, coinciding with celebrations for Shakespeare's 400th anniversary.
The book is being developed in collaboration with Good Chance theatre company who have worked with Adin since meeting him in their pop up dome theatre in the Calais Jungle. It is being created with support from the Good Chance Ensemble and an Arts Council England grant.
Myriad creative director Corinne Pearlman said: "Majid is a superb artist and cartoonist with a true dramatist’s eye for telling his extraordinary story. It’s a privilege to work with him and those who have supported his journey."