Picador Wins Right to Publish Memoirs of Jamaican Poet Safiya Sinclair

Picador, a publishing firm, won a seven-way auction and gained the right to publish the memoir of Jamaican poet Safiya Sinclair. Upon winning the auction for the book rights, Picador went to social media and wrote:

The memoir is part of a three-book deal negotiated by Kishani Widyaratna at Picador. The deal gives the publishing company and the United Kingdom and Commonwealth audio rights. Picador will publish the book, which is entitled “How to Say Babylon,” along with a poetry collection “Cannibal” on the same day in 2020. It will be published with an untitled historical novel set in the island nation of Jamaica in 2022. Seventeen publishers had already vied for the rights to publish Sinclair memoir in the United States.

The memoir tells the story of Sinclair’s birth into a strict Rastafarian family in Montego Bay. It explores her relationship with her “forbidding” father, a reggae musician, and her mother, who introduced the outside world to her children. Safiya Sinclair’s love of books and poetry in childhood spurred her imagination and drove her to move beyond the family’s restrictions. Her rebellion against patriarchal customs led to many battles with her father. The book describes her journey to adulthood, allowing readers to go beyond the experience of one family into a little understood Rasta world.

Sinclair made her publishing debut with “Cannibal” at the University of Nebraska Press in 2016. The poetry collection won the Whiting Writers’ Award and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. She was also longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize.

Sinclair said she was thrilled to join Picador, whose works and authors she has long admired. She also noted that she was grateful to have the chance to present “a more nuanced glimpse” in the lives of Jamaican families to British readers. Sinclair said she was happy to share Jamaica’s postcolonial inheritance to an international audience through her poetry and prose writings.

Image Courtesy: Safiya Sinclair’s Twitter

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