Sympathy author Olivia Sudjic has moved to Bloomsbury in a two-book deal.
The new deal with Bloomsbury includes a new novel, Asylum Road, about a refugee of the Yugoslav wars and Desire Lines, a non-fiction title about the nature of journeys. Sudjic, also an essayist and critic, has previously been published by Puskin Press and Peninsula Press.
Bloomsbury’s commissioning editor Angelique Tran Van Sang acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada to the two books from Emma Paterson of Aitken Alexander. Bloomsbury will publish Asylum Road in January 2021 while the publication date for Desire Lines is not yet known.
The first title in the new contract, Asylum Road, focuses on Anya, a refugee of the Yugoslav wars, who fled her home for the UK as a child. Years later, estranged from the family she left behind and newly engaged, Anya returns to Sarajevo to introduce her fiancé to her parents. But in facing her past, the violence she has spent her life trying to contain rises to the surface and the hot summer builds to a startling climax.
“Taut, lean, sly and unsettling, Asylum Road is a captivating and compulsive novel of disintegration – of nations, of relationships, and of one’s sense of self,” Bloomsbury said.
Meanwhile Desire Lines, bought on proposal, will explore what author Robert Macfarlane has described as “paths and tracks made over time by the wishes and feet of walkers, especially those paths that run contrary to design or planning”. The collection will trace the “desire lines” in Sudjic’s own life, work and family, as well as the journeys of “better known mark-makers”, looking at how we are guided by others, or divert from habitual narratives and become, instead, who we are.
Paterson said: “I am so pleased to see Olivia Sudjic land at Bloomsbury and with Angelique Tran Van Sang. Both publisher and editor are perfectly positioned to take the thrilling breadth of Olivia’s talents – novelist, essayist and critic – to the widest possible readership, and to do so with imagination, flair and ambition. It’s going to be very exciting.”
“Olivia Sudjic is that rare thing: a writer of ideas, fiercely grounded in contemporary concerns, with a distinctive style and a restless, open intelligence,” Tran Van Sang said. “I’m thrilled that Bloomsbury will be publishing a writer of such distinction, and I can’t wait to work with her, and enable her talent to reach an even wider audience.”
Sudjic said: “I’m delighted to call Bloomsbury home and grateful to have Angelique as an editor, whose taste I so admire and instinctively trust. I know our confidence in each other will be instrumental in what I can now do with my writing.”
Based in London, Sudjic's work has appeared in various publications such as the New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Sunday Times and the Paris Review. She is also the author of Exposure, a personal essay published by Peninsula Press focusing on anxiety and sexuality, as a follow-up to her debut novel Sympathy (Pushkin Press) which explored surveillance and identity in the digital age. Sympathy became a finalist for the Salerno European Book Award, the Collyer Bristow Prize and has been translated into five languages after being published in autumn 2017.