Viking has pre-empted a “remarkable” memoir by lawyer Qian Julie Wang about her childhood spent in severe poverty as an undocumented Chinese immigrant in Brooklyn.
Publisher Mary Mount scooped UK & Commonwealth rights for Beautiful Country, on offer from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown on behalf of Andrianna Yeats at ICM Partners. It will be published in spring 2022. Margo Shickmanter at Doubleday acquired North American rights, also in a pre-empt.
Wang has a law degree from Yale and wrote the first draft of the memoir on her daily commute on the F train to work in Manhattan. Beautiful Country is her first book.
The synopsis explains: “From the sushi factory to elementary school, the 'shopping days' (days spent scavenging the neighbourhood for furniture for their home) to emergency treatment in hospital, Wang's memoir is an utterly compelling and unforgettable account of what it means to live a life under the perpetual threat of deportation."
Mount said: “This is one of the most moving and illuminating memoirs I've read. It goes deep beyond the headlines and truly makes the reader understand what it means to live an undocumented life, the unbearable threat that hangs over everyday existence. In prose that is brilliantly vivid and completely compelling Qian Julie Wang has written an essential book for our times.”