Arabic rights in US writer Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage, which won the £30,000 Women’s Prize for Fiction in London earlier this month (the awards ceremony was held on 5 June), are still available. The title has been sold in 22 territories so far, including China (Citic Press for Chinese Simplified and China Times for Traditional Chinese), Korea Munhakdonge) and Italy (Neri Pozza).
Jones’ novel, her fourth, is hailed as a timely commentary on modern American life. It follows newlyweds Celestial and Roy as their lives are derailed when Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. The chair of the judges, historian Professor Kate Williams, described it as an “exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice”.
She added: “It is a story of love, loss and loyalty, the resilience of the human spirit painted on a big political canvas – that shines a light on today’s America. We all loved this brilliant book. It’s heartbreaking and so moving but there’s hope as well. We all loved it. It’s a really unforgettable book. We just hope that everyone reads it. It’s really beautiful, it’s really luminous and the voices are very immediate. She also uses the letter form to quite dramatic effect.”
Oprah Winfrey chose the book as an Oprah Book Club selection last year and Barack Obama described it as “a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple”.
The full list of international sales is as follows: Albanian – OMSCA-1; ANZ – Penguin Random House Australia; Canada – HarperCollins Canada; Czech – Albatros/Vysehrad; Dutch – HarperCollins Netherlands; French – Feux Croisés/Presses de la Cité; German – Arche Verlag; Hebrew – Aryeh Nir; Hungarian – Europa Kiado; Lithuanian – Baltos Lankos; Macedonian – Ars Lamina; Polish – Otwarte; Portuguese (in Brazil) – Arqueiro/Sextante; Romanian – Polirom; Russian – AST; Spanish – Alianza; Swedish – Forum; and UK – Oneworld Publications.
Translation rights are handled by Kendra Poster, rights director for Algonquin Books, which is owned by Workman Publishing in New York.