Virago has acquired two graphic novels as part of a strategy to begin publishing the genre on its list for the first time.
One graphic novel is an illustrated history of the female body and female sexuality, called The Fruit of Knowledge by Liv Strömquist, and the other, Eve by Una, is the story of a mother and daughter struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Sarah Savitt, deputy publisher at Virago, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for The Fruit of Knowledge by Liv Strömquist from Alessandra Sternfeld at Am-Book. The book, originally published in Sweden, is described as a "funny, irreverent" historical perspective on the female body and female sexuality, from Ancient Greece through Freud up to the present day. In total the book has been sold in more than 10 territories. Virago will publish in April 2018, at the same time as Fantagraphics in the US.
Savitt acquired world all languages rights to publish the second book, Eve by the Yorkshire-based artist, academic and comics creator known solely as Una from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock. The dystopia is said to have "provocative parallels with our current political reality", exploring themes of motherhood, community and survival. Una is also the author of graphic memoir Becoming/ Unbecoming which was published by Myriad in the UK and was chosen as one of Oprah.com’s Best Memoirs of 2016. Virago will publish Eve in 2020.
Savitt said: "Some of the most original graphic novelists working today are women, so it feels fitting and thrilling that Virago will launch a boutique graphic novel strand in 2018. I can’t think of two more perfect artists to inaugurate this new venture. The Fruit of Knowledge is hilarious, illuminating and empowering, and already an international hit. And I loved Una’s heart-stopping memoir Becoming/ Unbecoming, which has been embraced by so many readers around the world as a devastating exploration of gender-based violence as well as a startlingly beautiful graphic book; so I am proud to be publishing her second book, which promises to be just as inventive, gorgeous and thought-provoking."