W&N has netted a new novel by "astonishing" award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson, which is already garnering huge praise in the US.
Federico Andornino, editorial director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Matilda Forbes Watson at WME to Red at the Bone, which will be published on 28th January 2020.
The new novel is a story of two families from different social classes who are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. It opens in 2011 at 16-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in Brooklyn. The teenager wears a custom-made dress originally made for her mother 16 years earlier for her own ceremony – one which never happened.
The synopsis explains: “Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives – even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.”
Woodson is the author of more than two dozen books, a four-time National Book Award finalist, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a two-time NAACP Image Award winner and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen), received the National Book Award in 2014.
She said: “Red at the Bone is a story that is very close to my heart. Although it’s not a true story, it has a lot of all of our truths in it – about what it means to be part of a family, part of the American and the African American experience and most of all what it means to be part of a continuum. I wrote it to better understand the past. And I wrote it to remember.”
Andornino added: “Jacqueline Woodson is a writer of astonishing talent and Red at the Bone is set to become an instant modern classic. Moving, powerful, never didactic and yet razor-sharp in its depiction of race and class in contemporary America, this novel will fill the Toni Morrison-shaped hole in readers’ hearts. Everyone at W&N is hugely proud, honoured and excited to welcome Jacqueline to our family.”