Virago has acquired I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown in an eight-way auction.
The book, which is the current Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick, is described as "an eye-opening account of growing up black, Christian and female that exposes how white America's love affair with 'diversity' so often falls short of its ideals".
Sarah Savitt, publisher at Virago, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Rachel Berkowitz at Penguin Random House US. I’m Still Here was published in 2018 by Convergent/ PRH in the US and, according to Virago, it has sold 80,000 copies in the past four weeks.
Raised in majority-white schools and churches, Austin wrote she "had to learn what it means to love blackness". The journey has led to work as a writer and speaker advocating for racial justice and as an expert helping organisations practice genuine inclusion.
Commenting on the deal, she said: "I'm thrilled Virago has chosen to publish I'm Still Here during a time when so many of us are having conversations about racial justice, not just in America but around the world. I'm looking forward to learning more about race in the UK and how our stories have similarities and differences."
Savitt said: "Austin Channing Brown has an unforgettable voice – clear-eyed, provocative, wise and funny – and I simply couldn’t stop reading. We feel honoured that Austin has chosen us as her British publisher and we believe her memoir will be both an important part of the current conversation about racial justice as well as a book that will be read for many years."
Virago will publish I’m Still Here in e-book and audiobook in July, and in hardback in August.