Picador has acquired the “deeply moving” debut novel from Jennifer Rosner about a young Jewish mother and her daughter hiding inside a barn in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Publishing director Francesca Main acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for The Yellow Bird Sings from Chris Scheina at Flatiron Books. Amy Einhorn, executive VP and publisher of Flatiron, bought world rights to the book in an exclusive submission and offers are currently underway in translation territories.
It tells the story of Roza and her five-year-old child Shira, a musical prodigy, who have to hide and keep silent in a neighbour’s barn. The synopsis explains: “Forbidden from making a sound, only the girl's imaginary companion, the yellow bird from her mother's stories, can sing the melodies she composes in her head. Roza does all she can to take care of Shira and protect her from the horrors outside. But then the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Roza must face an impossible choice: whether to keep her daughter by her side, or give her the chance to escape.”
Rosner interviewed a number of adults who hid from the Nazis as children, and travelled to Poland and Israel to research the book. Picador will publish her novel as a lead fiction title in spring 2020.
Main said: “I read The Yellow Bird Sings in a day and found it utterly gripping and incredibly moving. Jennifer Rosner is an exceptional storyteller and I was rooting for her characters every step of the way, heart in mouth. It's a beautiful and unforgettable novel about what it means to lose everything, about the triumph of humanity and hope in unthinkable circumstances, and about the unbreakable bond between a parent and child. It will be an honour to publish it at Picador and we can't wait to press it into the hands of as many readers as possible.”