Picador has snapped up a new collection of poetry from 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize winner Raymond Antrobus in a multi-publisher auction.
Poetry editor Don Paterson and commissioning editor Kishani Widyaratna acquired UK and Commonwealth and audio rights from Niki Chang at David Higham Associates, in her first deal since moving to the agency. Picador will publish the book in autumn 2021 in trade paperback.
Building on his award-winning debut, The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins), the untitled book “is a collection of intimate, deeply personal poems flickering with gods and ghosts, and the painful electricity that runs up and down the wires of lineage and inheritance”.
The poems in Antrobus’ new collection travel between Africa, America and the Caribbean and to England, and the London streets where he grew up. Its synopsis says: “The collection becomes a space in which Antrobus reckons with his own ancestry and bears witness to the indelible legacy of violence wrought by colonialism. It explores how inextricable the way we inhabit the body is from the people who raise us, the shaping influence of childhood on the present self and romantic love. Formally sophisticated, with a weighty wisdom and startling directness, this is a timely and tender book from one of most important young poets of his generation.”
In 2019 Antrobus became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbones Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre. Other accolades include the Ted Hughes award, PBS Winter Choice, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and the Guardian Poetry Book Of The Year 2018, as well as being shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and Forward Prize.
Paterson and Widyaratna said: “Raymond Antrobus is one of the most singular new talents to have recently emerged on the UK poetry scene. Raymond’s voice is his alone, and blends an immediate and politically attuned poetry with a finely insightful lyric to powerful and moving effect. Few recent poets have so thoughtfully addressed the many-sidedness of who we are and are discovering ourselves to be—and even fewer have found their poetry taken into the hearts of so many new readers. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Picador Poetry list.”
Antrobus added: “I'm very proud to be a new part of the Picador family and to be joining some of my favourite names in poetry (classic, contemporary, nationally and internationally). I have admired and respected Don Paterson for years as a poet and feel very lucky to be working with him. Paterson and I are both the grandsons of preachers and that feels like an important connection between us for this particular collection of poems. I have admired and respected Kishani Widyaratna's advocacy, not just for her authors but for English-language literature in general. She is a force for the best kind of change. I am forever grateful and inspired by my agent, Niki Chang, for ensuring this book found the best home possible. Give thanks.”
Chang added: "This collection has been a long time coming and we are very happy to be working with Don Paterson and Kishani Widyaratna at Picador. I can’t wait for readers to get their hands on this highly anticipated follow-up to the magnificent The Perseverance. This is an extraordinary second collection from one of the most important poets of our generation. Raymond Antrobus is an astonishing talent, fiercely committed to his craft with a long, exciting career ahead of him."
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