W&N acquires 'wildly inventive' novel from Cherie Dimaline

W&N acquires 'wildly inventive' novel from Cherie Dimaline

Weidenfeld & Nicolson will publish Empire of Wild by Canadian indigenous writer Cherie Dimaline on 1st April 2021. 

Federico Andornino, editorial director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Ron Eckel at Cooke International on behalf of Rachel Letofsky at CookeMcDermid. The title was published by Vintage Canada in 2019.

Empire of Wild is inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou—a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of Métis communities—and is described as a "propulsive, stunning and sensuous novel that defies categorisation and confronts some of the most pressing issues facing indigenous populations in Canada (and elsewhere): greed, exploitation, the dilution of a centuries-old sense of identity."

Andornino commented: "One of my missions at W&N is to introduce our readers to new forms of storytelling. And it doesn’t get any more wildly inventive than Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild. This novel is like nothing else I’ve read before: a page-turner with the same thrilling sense of dread of a classic Stephen King creation (or an episode of 'Stranger Things'), but with the social conscience of 'Get Out'.

"What sets Cherie apart, however, is her willingness to use her writing to explore some of the most pressing issues confronting the indigenous tribes she is part of. This is so much more than light entertainment: this is what fiction should really be all about."

Dimaline said: "I wanted to write a book that asked the question: what happens when colonisation comes for our gods? What are the ways in which they will resist? I ended up using the stories of a creature called the Rougarou that I heard growing up in my community—a snappy dresser and charismatic musician who also happens to look like a giant dog and haunts the road. Empire of Wild is a kind of modern-day fairytale, but with fewer dragons and princesses and more corporate greed and sex."

Dimaline is the author of YA novel The Marrow Thieves (Jacaranda, 2019).