W&N swoops for Italian bestseller The Hummingbird

W&N swoops for Italian bestseller The Hummingbird

Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired world English rights in Sandro Veronesi's Italian bestseller The Hummingbird, translated by Elena Pala.

Federico Andornino, editorial director at W&N, struck the deal with Sandra Pareja at Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency, on behalf of Veronesi’s Italian publisher La Nave di Teseo.            

The novel was first published in October 2019 by La Nave di Teseo in Italy, where it has been a top seller ever since, racking up sales of over 300,000 copies to date according to W&N. It was also voted best book of the year by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and went on to win the Premio Strega, the Italian equivalent of the Booker Prize. Veronesi is only the second author in the prize's 73 year history to have won the award twice.

The Hummingbird is a new take on the family saga, according to W&N, which praised it as "a thrilling novel about the need to look to the future with hope and live with intensity to the very end".

The synopsis reads: "Marco Carrera is ‘the hummingbird,’ a man with the almost supernatural ability to stay still as the world around him continues to change. As he navigates the challenges of life—confronting the death of his sister and the absence of his brother; taking care of his parents as they approach the end of their lives; raising his granddaughter when her mother, Marco’s own child, can no longer be there for her; coming to terms with his love for the enigmatic Luisa—Marco Carrera comes to represent the quiet heroism that pervades so much of our everyday existence."

Andornino has heralded Veronesi as "one of the most brilliant voices in European literature". He said: "The Hummingbird is playful, inventive, profound, uplifting and deeply moving: quite simply a masterclass in storytelling. Editing the text (beautifully translated by Elena Pala) during the past few months of restrictions has been a real tonic: it has reminded me of the cathartic, comforting power of literature at its most powerful. Its final section is one of the most enlightening and refreshingly optimistic visions of the near future I have read in a long time. And couldn’t we all use a pinch of optimism, right now?"

Veronesi, author said: "Writing The Hummingbird brought to the surface something deep within me, something over which I had no power or jurisdiction and which I could only tackle by writing. It's as if I had finally decided to explore a part of my life that I had never confronted in my previous novels: in a way, it has been the culmination of a life’s work. Our society is terrified of pain, when in fact it should be considered as something vital and necessary: we pity those who suffer, when instead, in some ways, they should be considered the chosen ones. Marco Carrera, our ‘hummingbird,’ is one of those privileged souls."

Foreign rights have been sold in 20 other territories: Germany (Zsolnay), Holland (Prometheus), France (Grasset), Spain (Anagrama), Catalan (Periscopi), China (People Press), Latvia (Janis Roze), Czech Republic (Euromedia), Hungary (Partnoval), Serbia (Akademska kniga), Romania (Litera), Slovenia (Zalozba Vida), Croatia (Ljevak Naklada), Slovakia (Slovart), Albania (Toena), Macedonia (Illi Illi), Bulgaria (Paradox), Lithuania (Baltos Lankos), Russia (Eksmo) and Turkey (Can).