Scribner pre-empts second novel by Booker International winner Jokha Alharthi

Lucy Nathan
Rights - Fiction Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Narinjah follows Celestial Bodies, winner of the prize this year

Chris White, editorial director at Scribner, has pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to Narinjah by Omani writer Jokha Alharthi, in a joint deal with S&S's Indian and Australian divisions. Alharthi won the International Booker Prize this year with her debut novel Celestial Bodies, which was published by Scribner in India. The English title of Narinjah is to be confirmed, and the novel will be translated by Marilyn Booth, who won the Booker alongside Alharthi for her translation of Celestial Bodies. Scribner will publish the new novel in autumn 2021.

Narinjah weaves together the tale of Omani student Zuhur's loneliness as she attends a British university with the challenged circumstances of her grandmother Bing Amir's early life.

White said: "To bring an international author of Jokha's calibre to Scribner marks a major step forward in the evolution of the list. Her new novel contains all the qualities which won her the Booker. In relatively few pages she has created a sweeping epic that draws back a curtain on a world normally cut off to Western audiences."

Sayantan Ghosh, senior commissioning editor at Simon & Schuster India, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that after successfully publishing Jokha Alharthi's MBI-winning title Celestial Bodies, we'll be publishing her new book in India. This is an exciting time for translated literature, and Jokha's remarkable new novel will only help open new doors for fresh voices around the world."

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