Walker Books has snapped up two "magical" middle-grade titles from 22-year-old debut author M T Khan.
Commissioning editor Gráinne Clear secured UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Little, Brown, whichacquired world English rights from Melanie Figueroa at Root Literary. The first title, Nura and the Immortal Palace, publishes in paperback on 7th July 2022, with a second title to follow in summer 2023, both featuring cover art by Lahore-based artist Hazem Asif.
Set in a small city in Pakistan, Nura and the Immortal Palace follows the story of 12-year-old Nura who has worked all her life in a mine, unearthing a beautiful and glittering mineral called mica. When a terrible accident causes the mines to collapse, and her best friend Faisal is buried underground, Nura digs too deep and crosses over into the magical and terrible world of the jinn.
There she finds her way to an enchanted palace, where great riches and a whole new life are on offer. But soon Nura discovers this fabled world to be as unfair as the real one and that trickster jinn will always live up to their reputation.
Clear commented: “From the street markets of Pakistan to the magical world of the jinn, this book took me to places I’d never been before – and places too rarely seen in children’s fiction. M T Khan is a hugely exciting new talent, exploring big themes of child labour and poverty, while also drawing readers into a fantastical, magical and hugely exciting adventure that is just the beginning for Nura, Faisal – and the Immortal Palace.”
Khan is a speculative fiction author with an interest in myth, science and philosophy and a background in Mechanical Engineering.
“Writing Nura and the Immortal Palace has been a cathartic experience for me," she said. "For a long time, I’d been writing about characters who didn’t look like me, talk like me, or act like me. I threw that all away when I decided to write a book in celebration of my desi culture, with nods to Islamic traditions, that spins a new magical twist on the creepy jinn tales my mother used to tell me as a child. I’m so grateful to say this book is in great hands with Walker Books and Gráinne Clear. I couldn’t ask for better advocates.”
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