Headline imprint Tinder Press has snapped up Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner Cherie Jones' "electric" novel as its lead debut for spring 2021 in a pre-emptive deal, with US and Canadian rights sold on the same day.
Associate publisher at Tinder Press Leah Woodburn pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights in How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House from Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander. On the same day, US and Canadian rights were also pre-empted, by Judy Clain at Little, Brown US, and Iris Tupholme at HarperCollins Canada respectively.
Set in Barbados, How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is a portrait of a "fascinating and troubled country, and a brave and deeply moving story of male violence and the women who survive it", said Tinder. "It opens one night with a young woman, Lala, who is eight months pregnant and terrified that she’s having her baby early. She goes looking for her husband Adan, and finds him on the beach, fleeing from a bungled burglary in which a wealthy white man has been shot dead. The baby is born and Lala and Adan both love her fiercely, but there’s a violent tussle over her one night and she is dropped from her mother’s arms. The next morning, she doesn’t wake up."
Woodburn said: "I read the entire book with my heart in my mouth: there’s this urgent undercurrent of menace running through the narrative, ready to surface at any moment, and that makes for an incredibly powerful reading experience. It’s rare to find storytelling that feels so intensely alive, a narrative voice so distinctly its own, a writer so naturally talented. We feel very lucky to be publishing this book."
Alexander said, "I’m thrilled that Tinder Press, Little Brown US and Harper Collins Canada leapt on Cherie’s manuscript, and that she is now in the hands of such exceptional editors as Leah, Judy and Iris."
Born in Barbados, Jones writes fiction alongside practicing law. She won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 1999 and then studied Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam in 2015, where she won both the Archie Markham Award and the AM Heath Prize. In 2015 she was also awarded a full fellowship from the Vermont Studio Centre. She currently lives in Barbados.
Jones added: "I am absolutely delighted that How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House has found a home with Tinder Press in the UK, Little, Brown US and HarperCollins Canada. I'm impressed by the sensitivity and acumen of my editors and the tenacity of my wonderful agent Clare Alexander in bringing Lala's story to the world."