Virago is publishing The Incendiaries by R O Kwon, a book about a couple, one of whom is drawn into a secretive cult tied to North Korea.
Senior commissioning editor Ailah Ahmed secured UK and Commonwealth rights in The Incendiaries from Hal Fessenden at Penguin Random House USA. Virago Press will release an e-book in July to match publication of the US edition and a hardback in September. Laura Perciasepe at Riverhead is the primary editor.
The Incendiaries follows Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall who meet during their first month at a prestigious university. Phoebe is reeling from the death of her mother and Will is running away from a conservative Christian background. They fall in love. But Phoebe is drawn into a religious group founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past involving Phoebe’s Korean American family. When the extremist group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, Phoebe goes on the run, while Will tries to find her and attempts to come to terms with the violent act.
Ahmed said: "Kwon’s debut novel contains everything I am looking for when it comes to contemporary fiction – it’s surprising, full of energy, original and brave. It takes the subjects of grief, identity, religion and race and pours them into a hugely gripping story. The Incendiaries marks the arrival of an important writer."
Kwon added: "I couldn’t be more thrilled by where The Incendiaries has found its UK home. Virago is a venerable, exciting press with a history and future I feel so honoured to be able to join."