Viking has pre-empted a “major literary memoir of love, loss and redemption” called Gone by child prodigy Min Kym.
South Korean born Kym was raised in the UK and started playing the violin at the age of six. At seven she was accepted as the youngest ever scholar to the Purcell School of Music; at 13 she was playing with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra; at 16 American violinist, Ruggiero Ricci said she was "the most talented violinist I have ever worked with".
Gone will tell the story of Kym's search for her "soul mate - the perfect violin that would fit her perfectly and speak for her" which she found in a 1696 Stradivarius. After securing a Sony recording contract and commanding solo recitals at the world's "most prestigious" concert halls, in 2010, the violin was stolen from her. She was "shattered and unable to play again, her career – and her world – collapsed overnight. Then, after a journey shrouded in mystery, in 2013 the violin was dramatically recovered… but the story was far from over."
Joel Rickett, publisher at Viking, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Annabel Merullo at PFD on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Dutch rights have been pre-empted by Hollands Diep.
Rickett said: “The whole of Penguin General – and much of the publishing world – has been awestruck by Min Kym’s story. It’s very rare to discover this kind of beautifully written literary memoir with such emotional pull. Gone takes us into the world of a child prodigy, the history of music, and the craft of the finest violins ever made. Most riveting is the intense bond a great artist forges with their ‘one’ true instrument – as she writes, ‘all my life my Stradivarius had been waiting for me as I had been waiting for her’. When they are severed the shock is impossibly traumatic. There’s a dark strand of betrayal here too. Yet Min’s journey is ultimately a story of hope and faith, a journey back to music. The world is going to embrace her and raise her up high.”
Kym said: “Writing this book has been such an important step for me, and being supported by Joel Rickett, and the Viking team is incredibly reassuring. This is more than I could ever have imagined when I started.”
Viking will publish Gone in Spring 2017.