Picador has acquired two works by the late American short story writer Lucia Berlin: a collection of short stories, Evening in Paradise, and an illustrated memoir, Welcome Home.
Editor Ansa Khan Khattak bought UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, from Berlin’s US publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Emily Bell, senior editor at FSG, acquired rights from the Literary Estate of Lucia Berlin.
Unfinished during Berlin's lifetime (she died, aged 68, in 2004) Welcome Home will be completed by FSG and the author's son, Jeff Berlin, using original letters and photographs. According to Picador, it will be "the perfect accompaniment to her wider work, and a perfect gift for those who loved A Manual for Cleaning Women".
Picador published Berlin's collection A Manual for Cleaning Women in 2015. The short story collection was a New York Times bestseller and went on to sell 20,205 copies for £193,148 through Nielsen, which success Khattak commented "signalled the re-discovery of a writer whose talent had gone unremarked by many".
Her stories are inspired by her early childhood in various Western mining towns; teenage years in Santiago, Chile; three failed marriages; a lifelong problem with alcoholism; her years spent in Berkeley, New Mexico, and Mexico City; and the various jobs she later held to support her writing and her four sons.
Khattak added: "The incredible reaction to Lucia’s writing – her ability to capture the beauty and ugliness that coexist in everyday life, the extraordinary honesty and magnetism with which she drew on her own history to breathe life into her characters – included calls for her contribution to American literature to be as celebrated as that of Raymond Carver. We’re delighted to be publishing a second collection of Berlin’s stories, alongside her memoir, Welcome Home."
Picador and FSG will publish both Evening in Paradise and Welcome Home in September 2018.