Sceptre is publishing East Side Voices, a collection of essays by "the brightest East and Southeast Asian voices in Britain today".
Francine Toon, commissioning editor at Sceptre, acquired British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Alba Ziegler-Bailey at the Wylie Agency.
The title, scheduled for 2022, is "an opportunity for Asian storytelling, bringing forth stories and insights that change the way we think and feel about East and Southeast Asian culture", according to Sceptre.
Promising to commission and edit essays on a wide-range of subjects from sexuality to the culture of casting in the film world and the significance of names, the editor is Helena Lee, features editor at Harper’s Bazaar, who founded East Side Voices arts and literary salon which has hosted interviews with Sharlene Teo and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
She said: "Since launching the event series in February, I have been moved by the interest, the support and the extraordinary stories that people have shared with me; it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. There is such a wealth of talent of East and Southeast Asian origin in the UK, and I wanted to create a forum that was open to everyone—to discuss what it was to be part of the diaspora and unlock those shared experiences; I’m so excited to have the opportunity to explore this more deeply and champion the writers I love.
"I can’t wait to work with Francine Toon and the Sceptre team, and to create a partnership that will help change perceptions, and open the market to more East and Southeast Asian voices in popular culture."
Toon said: "I am delighted to be publishing East Side Voices and working with the multi-talented Helena Lee, whose proposal feels like a breath of fresh air. This will be a book brimming with ideas, stories, insight and beauty. It feels more important than ever to celebrate East and Southeast Asian identity in Britain.
"Since my first reading of the proposal our world has been turned upside down by Covid-19 and I have been shocked by the wave of hostility that East and Southeast Asians have faced. I hope the book will provide a welcome tonic and start valuable conversations through brilliant writing on a broad range of subjects."