Usborne acquires semi-autobiographical tale of immigrant experience

Usborne acquires semi-autobiographical tale of immigrant experience

Usborne will publish A Glasshouse of Stars, a middle-grade novel by Chinese-Australian author Shirley Marr. 

Editorial director Rebecca Hill acquired the novel with English language rights in the UK, Ireland and British Commonwealth (excluding Australia, New Zealand and territories and dependencies of Canada) from Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency. 

Global publication is scheduled for spring 2021, with Usborne working alongside Penguin Random House Australia and Simon & Schuster US. 

From a first-generation Chinese-Australian author, A Glasshouse of Stars documents the migrant experience and is inspired by Marr's personal experiences of growing up in Australia. Marr is particularly focused on that first-generation experience of colliding cultures, where language barriers hold back those voices.

In the book, Meixing Lim and her family have arrived at the new house in the "new land", inherited from First Uncle who died tragically and unexpectedly. Everything is unknown to Meixing and she is embarrassed by the second-hand shoes given to her by the kind neighbours, has trouble understanding the language at school, and with fitting in and making new friends. 

Marr commented: "When I arrived in mainland Australia in the 1980s, at the age of seven, I experienced that culture shock of those worlds colliding – both the good, and the bad. I want to see these experiences in books, these Chinese-Australian immigrant voices expressed, but I’ve witnessed myself how first-generation immigrants may not possess the language abilities to document these vital stories. I’ve channelled my love of reading and writing throughout my life so that I can be in a position to be that voice."

Photography: Jessica Wyld