Galley Beggar Press is to publish a retelling of King Lear set in modern-day New Delhi.
We That Are Young is a debut novel by Preti Taneja, charting the downfall of a family dynasty and taking – as its backdrop – the incendiary anti-corruption protests that swept across India in 2011–2012.
Eloise Millar, co-founder and director of Galley Beggar Press, said: “We That Are Young is a superb novel – so good, to be honest, that I’m baffled as to why there hasn’t been a noisy song-and-dance and a bidding war.
"As it was – and much like our author Eimear McBride – when Preti’s novel was first submitted to us, it came with a history of ecstatic rejections from editors, who almost universally felt that her writing was extraordinary but too ‘tricksy’ to be a commercial success.
"There are other similarities between Eimear and Preti, too. They’re both formally ambitious, they’re both fearless and uncompromising – and, perhaps most of all, they’ve managed to create something bold and new whilst also telling an addictive, deeply engaging, and emotionally devastating tale. I could not stop reading it, and I feel sure that Preti has an astonishing career ahead of her.”
Sam Jordison, fellow co-founder and director of GBP, joined in the praise, calling Preti’s writing “adventurous, dark, and funny... brimming with life and meaning”. He added that he felt lucky to take on “such a talented writer – and one who is so clearly going to go far.”
Taneja, who last year won the Gatehouse New Fiction Prize for her novella, Kumkum Malhotra (Gatehouse Press), was in 2014 named as one of 10 prestigious BBC New Generation Thinkers.
Taneja said: “While writing We That Are Young I worked in New Delhi and Kashmir, and spoke to many people from different castes, class backgrounds and religions about the feverish times they felt they were living in. The title of my book comes from the end of Shakespeare's play, and evokes the power of the fact that India is the world's youngest and fastest growing democracy."
She added: "I'm absolutely delighted that my work has found a home with such a radical, exciting publisher as Galley Beggar Press, and especially among writers including Paul Ewen and Eimear McBride whose skill I so admire.”