Oneworld acquires Black Lives Matter activist’s ‘moving’ memoir

Oneworld acquires Black Lives Matter activist’s ‘moving’ memoir

Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson’s memoir On the Other Side of Freedom: Race and Justice in a Divided America will be published in the UK in April, with Oneworld buying the UK & Commonwealth rights. 

Oneworld senior commissioning editor Alex Christofi bought the book from Rachel Clements at Abner Stein on behalf of CAA. It will be published on 11th April 2019 as a £9.99 paperback. Viking has published the memoir in the US. 

In 2013, McKesson and a core group of activists started Black Lives Matter, described as ‘the most formidable American protest of the 21st century to date’ by the New York Times. Oneworld says: “On the Other Side of Freedom describes how five years ago DeRay quit his job as a school teacher and spent the next 400 days on the streets, helping to bring the Black Lives Matter movement into being. His book describes how he became a spokesman for a new generation of activists, setting down the intellectual, pragmatic, and political framework for a new liberation movement.”

Christofi said: “DeRay has really written two books here: first, a moving memoir of life as a gay, black man in twenty-first century America; second, a leading activist’s manual for meaningful change. I was blown away by the lyricism and clarity of this book – his storytelling and argument have a force that reminds me of James Baldwin." 

Born and raised in Baltimore, McKesson is leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement, host of podcast Save the People and a co-founder of Campaign Zero. He has been named among the World's Greatest Leaders in Fortune magazine, one of the 30 Most Important People On The Internet by Time and listed as one of Foreign Policy magazine's 100 Global Thinkers. Barack Obama has praised McKesson for his work as a community organiser. 

Oneworld’s deal comes after Canongate signed the "poetic and powerful" memoir When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, in 2017. 

Earlier this year the Black Lives Matter inspired novel, The Hate U Give, by US author Angie Thomas won the Waterstones children’s book prize.