Riverrun bags 'breathtaking' debut by Swarup

Riverrun bags 'breathtaking' debut by Swarup

Riverrun has bagged the “breathtaking” and award-winning Latitudes of Longing by debut novelist Shubhangi Swarup.

Commissioning editor Rose Tomaszewska bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding the Indian subcontinent and Canada, from Denise Cronin at Penguin Random House US. It will be published in May 2020.

Swarup’s epic novel was a huge hit in India and won the Mumbai-based journalist the Tata Lit Live Best First Book of the Year Award in 2018.

The synopsis explains: “It begins in the Andaman Islands, where a botanist marries a woman who can see ghosts; it follows a geographical faultline up to Myanmar, where their maid’s son has been imprisoned for activism; then moves to Nepal, where a drug trader rescues an exotic dancer, and finally to the Karokoram mountains bordering Kashmir, Pakistan and Tibet, where the grandson of the original Andaman couple risks his life for a science experiment and an ancient villager falls in love with a nomadic woman. Myths and stories flow from character to character, generation to generation, interlinking them in a wondrous view of mankind’s place in nature and the history of the earth.”

Swarup said: “I am very grateful that Latitudes of Longing will be part of the riverrun imprint at the Quercus family. Getting published in the UK is increasingly difficult, especially for international debut authors like me, and I would urge the British publishers and readers to retain diversity in their reading, always a powerful tool of inclusivity.”

Tomaszewska said: "The effect of reading this novel is not unlike that of travelling to these places – a sense of wonder, of life and humankind being bigger than oneself, and a love for all it encompasses. The writing is magical – luminous, poetic and often funny – and Shubhangi herself is an extraordinary person, with an inspiring backstory behind the novel and an original mind. I am thrilled to be publishing her first novel.”