Virago Modern Classics scoops Gayl Jones 1975 debut 'masterpiece'

Virago Modern Classics scoops Gayl Jones 1975 debut 'masterpiece'

Virago Modern Classics has bagged the “searing” first novel from Gayl Jones, hailed as a masterpiece on its initial publication in 1975.

Editorial director Donna Coonan acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for Corregidora from US publisher Beacon Press after discovering the novel through the "Backlisted" podcast. It will be published in paperback 3rd October 2019, with two of Jones’s later novels, Eva’s Man and The Healing.

Set in the 1940s, Corregidora centres on Ursa, a blues singer whose mother and grandmother were fathered by Corregidora, a plantation owner. The original editor was Toni Morrison who proclaimed: “No novel about any black woman could ever be the same after this.”

Coonan said: “Corregidora paved the way for Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple – it preceded them all – and yet this vital book is not well known and has been unavailable in the UK for decades. Corregidora is every bit as relevant and important today as when it was first published. This powerful, beautifully written classic absolutely deserves rediscovery.”