Harvill Secker two-book deal for Indonesian author Intan Paramaditha

Rights - Fiction Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Short story collection Apple and Knife set for publication next spring; The Wandering, 'a novel where the reader chooses their own narrative path,' to follow in 2020

Ellie Steel, senior editor at Harvill Secker, signed UK and Commonwealth rights in both books from Kelly Falconer at Asia Literary Agency.

According to the acquisition statement: 'Inspired by horror fiction, myths and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves into the supernatural to explore the dangers and power of occupying a female body in today’s world. These short fictions set in the Indonesian everyday – in corporate boardrooms, shanty towns, on dangdut stages – reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface.

'The Wandering is a choose-your-own-adventure-style novel about travelling the world. Its jumping off point is the story of Dorothy and her ruby slippers, which readers are invited to slip on, and roam on a path of their own choosing between New York, Berlin, Jakarta, Lima and beyond.'

Apple and Knife, translated by Stephen J. Epstein, is published in Australia and New Zealand by Brow Books and is out now, following its launch last weekend at New Zealand’s Writers and Readers Festival.

Steel said: 'Intan Paramaditha’s writing is exhilaratingly wild, fun and feminist, and she digs deep into ideas surrounding desire, identity, the highs and lows of global nomadism, and the freedoms and limitations of the choices we make. One of the most exciting things for me is how Intan invites readers to step out of their comfort zones and empathise with other people.

'Apple and Knife and The Wandering are fierce and unconventional and we’re thrilled to be publishing them. We’re in awe of the brilliant things that Sam Cooney and Elizabeth Bryer are doing at Brow Books, and we’re grateful to them and to Kelly for introducing Intan’s extraordinary writing to us and to the English-speaking world.'

Intan Paramaditha said: "Apple and Knife tells stories about disobedient women who negotiate with their social structures, whereas The Wandering engages with the issues of travel, mobility, and displacement in our global world. While these books are shaped by the cacophony of contemporary Indonesia – fast-moving neoliberal urban spaces, religious conservatism, and the legacies of authoritarianism – there are universal questions to share: How do we resist?"

"What does it mean to cross boundaries? Thanks to the faith, perseverance, and creativity of Stephen J. Epstein, who has been translating my work for years, and the edgy Australian publisher Brow Books, I had the opportunity to share these questions through fiction beyond Indonesia. And now, with the unfailing support from Asia Literary Agency, the two books are embarking on a new journey. Harvill Secker persistently champions international literature; I am delighted they will be the home for my writing, and deeply honoured by the opportunity to work with Ellie Steel and her team."

Kelly Falconer, founder, Asia Literary Agency, said: "I fell head over heels for Intan Paramaditha’s short stories and also with Intan herself – engaging, clever, she is everything an agent and a publisher could hope for, not least because of the quality of her writing and its confident playfulness. Ellie Steel just... got it, immediately, and with heaps of enthusiasm, and we are so looking forward to working with her and her team at Harvill Secker.

"Huge thanks to the extraordinary John McGlynn, translator and founder of Lontar and who works tirelessly to bring Indonesian literature to the world. Huge thanks also to our delightful and accomplished translator, Stephen Epstein, and to the visionary Brow Books, who took the first leap."

Intan Paramaditha is an Indonesian writer now based in Sydney. She has written two short story collections, Sihir Perempuan (2005) and Kumpulan Budak Setan (2010, with Eka Kurniawan and Ugoran Prasad), from which the stories of Apple and Knife are drawn, as well as the novel The Wandering (2017). She has a PhD from New York University and teaches Media and Film Studies at Macquarie University.

Pictured: Intan Paramaditha (cr Ilana Avanindra)

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