Toronto, March 23, 2016—Melissa Danaczko of Doubleday (New York) and Anita Chong of McClelland & Stewart (Toronto), have jointly acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to THE BOAT PEOPLE, a debut novel by Sharon Bala. The book was purchased on a pre-empt, for publication in January 2018. The deal was arranged by Stephanie Sinclair.
Says Danaczko: “THE BOAT PEOPLE is an extraordinary novel about a group of Sri Lankan refugees trying to navigate a byzantine immigration system. Bala is a vivid, compassionate writer, immediately pulling you into the mindset of not only the asylum-seekers from a war-torn country but also those whose job it is to decide their fate. A stunning debut that is at once intimate, urgent and universal in the questions it raises.”
Upon the acquisition, Anita Chong added: “Fiction has the power to create bridges of empathy and understanding, and this is what Sharon Bala has done so powerfully in THE BOAT PEOPLE, by illuminating the universal and deeply human aspects of the immigrant and refugee experience in a way that feels both fresh and urgent. From the bones of a little-known, real-life incident, Bala has crafted a beautiful and high-stakes story that asks difficult but necessary questions—questions that will only become increasingly relevant as the world-wide refugee crisis continues. I devoured this novel, and I know readers will do the same.”
The manuscript for Bala’s novel won the Percy Janes First Novel Award (May 2015) and was short listed for the Fresh Fish Award (October 2015), and has already begun to catch the eye of other writers: “THE BOAT PEOPLE is full of drama and character, sharp bold sentences and movement of all sorts, global and interior,” says bestselling author Lisa Moore (Caught and February). This is “gorgeous writing, compassionate and urgent.”
THE BOAT PEOPLE focuses on thirty-five-year-old Mahindan, who has survived the harrowing experiences of civil war, a prison camp, and a perilous ocean voyage from Sri Lanka. When the rusty cargo ship carrying him and 500 fellow refugees reaches safe Canadian shores, he thinks the struggle is finally over. But in reality, his journey has only begun. Set in Vancouver and Sri Lanka, THE BOAT PEOPLE follows Mahindan and his six-year-old son as they are separated, imprisoned, and forced to navigate the morass of the refugee system. Inspired by real life events, THE BOAT PEOPLE is a timely novel about identity and belonging, family secrets and loss, and the rift that can sometimes form between immigrant parents and their third culture children. It is an important contemporary novel that invites us to explore what people leaving everything they know to become strangers in a strange land are going through, and provokes a more compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis.
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As we near the end 2015, we are excited to recap the many highlights of our agency’s adult and children’s/YA authors’ achievements this year. This year, our clients have received a variety of impressive award nominations and wins, and have been named bestsellers.
Thank you to our wonderful clients, the publishers who published them, and the fantastic readers who have made it all possible! We look forward to beginning a new year of accolades and an exciting list of new projects in 2016! Happy Holidays!
Transatlantic Agency’s 2015 Adult Author Award & News Citations:
THE SILENT WIFE by ASA Harrison, previously optioned by Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films and Mazur Kaplan, has been fully financed and will be going into production with a script written by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games) and will be directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction and Unfaithful)
ANNABEL, Kathleen Winter’s multiple award-winning novel, has been optioned for film by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter/director Deepa Mehta, for development through her company, Hamilton Mehta Productions
THEY LEFT US EVERYTHING by Plum Johnson winner of the RBC Charles Taylor Prize and nominated for the Leacock Medal for Humour and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
WALT by Russell Wangersky winner of the 2015 CBC Bookie Prize, Best Thriller, Horror, Mystery or Crime
THIEF OF GLORY by Sigmund Brouwer winner Christy Award for Book of the Year and Christy Award for Best Book in the Historical Romance category, winner of the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award
IAIN REID named recipient of the 2015 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award
SHARON BALA winner of the Percy Janes First Novel Award and shortlisted for the Fresh Fish Award
MEGAN COLES winner of the Writers Trust 5×5 Award and the 2014 BMO Winterset Award
SMOKE RIVER by Krista Foss winner of the Hamilton Literary Award for Fiction
DAVE BIDINI won the Anne Green Award at Calgary Wordfest 2015
CONSUMED by Sarah Elton winner of the Choice Magazine (American Library Association) CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award
TELL IT TO THE WORLD by Eliott Behar finalist for the Hilary Weston Prize for Nonfiction
BOUNDLESS by Kathleen Winter was nominated for the RBC Charles Taylor Prize, the Hilary Weston Prize and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction. In the US it has received multiple starred reviews and will be on Booklist’s Best of the Year list.
LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE MOSQUE by Zarqa Nawaz shortlisted for the Leacock Medal for Humour, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and Saskatchewan Book Awards
BEYOND THE PALE by Emily Urquhart shortlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Nonfiction
EXTREME MEAN by Paula Todd shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Crime Writing
WILL STARLING by Ian Weir longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and nominated for the Sunburst Awards
THE UMBRELLA MENDER by Christine Fischer Guy has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her story SALT, which appeared in The Austin Review
THE BLONDES by Emily Schultz was released in the US, received multiple starred reviews, and is an NPR Top 50 Books selection, a Kirkus Best Fiction of 2015 pick and a BookPage Best Book of 2015. It will be released as a Picador paperback in 2016.
LEDGER OF THE OPEN HAND by Leslie Vryenhoek’s makes the Writer’s Trust List of Best Books of 2015, as chosen by Michael Crummey
Transatlantic Agency’s 2015 Young Adult & Children’s Author Award and News Citations:
THE GOSPEL TRUTH by Caroline Pignat: winner of the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature, finalist for the 2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centres Awards (Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award), finalist for the 2015 Red Maple Award. Her novel UNSPEAKABLE was also a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award, and both UNSPEAKABLE and THE GOSPEL TRUTH were shortlisted for the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award.
ERIC WALTERS admitted into the Order of Canada and he was also named a finalist for the 2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centres Award for HOPE SPRINGS (which won the 2014 Christopher Award), winner of the 2015 Red Maple Award for THE RULE OF THREE, and WALKING HOME was a finalist for the CLA Book of the Year for Children and a 2016 Red Maple finalist
DEAD MAN’S SWITCH by Sigmund Brouwer winner of the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book, finalist for the 2015 Canadian Children’s Book Centre John Spray Mystery Award, and a finalist for the 2015 Red Maple
GRACE by Mary Casanova (2015 American Girl of the Year) was winner of the 2015 Parents’ Choice Approved Award, winner of the 2015 National Parenting Publications (NAPPA) Gold Award
THE METRO DOGS OF MOSCOW by Rachelle Delaney winner of the B.C. Chocolate Lily Award, and THE CIRCUS DOGS OF PRAGUE was shortlisted for the CLA Book of the Year for Children
THE DAY MY MOM CAME TO KINDERGARTEN by Maureen Fergus, winner of the 2015 Blue Spruce Award. Her book BUDDY AND EARL also made it on the Boston Globe best books of 2015 list.
FACE-OFF by Michael Betcherman, finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book
THE VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD by S.J. Laidlaw, finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book, finalist for the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year, and finalist for the John Spray Mystery Award
WATER CAN BE by Laura Purdie Salas finalist for the 2015 Minnesota Book Awards
HAVE YOU HEARD THE NESTING BIRD? by Rita Gray, New England Book Show Winner, children’s books
TIME OUT OF TIME: Beyond the Door by Maureen McQuerry, Middle Grade finalist for the 2015 Washington State Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Awards
SNEAKER CENTURY by Amber Keyser nominated for the 2015 YALSA Award
STARTING FROM SCRATCH by Sarah Elton, finalist for the Norma Fleck Award for Non-Fiction
THE SHOW TO END ALL SHOWS by Cary Fagan, finalist for the John Spray Mystery Award and MR ZINGER’S HAT was the TD Grade One Give-Away Book for 2015
WE’RE ALL FRIENDS HERE by Nancy Wilcox Richards, illustrated by Tom Goldsmith, finalist for the 2016 Blue Spruce
Silver Birch finalists and Express finalists for 2016: WHEN THE WORST HAPPENS by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, and HOPE SPRINGS by Eric Walters, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
WHEN THE WORST HAPPENS by Tanya Lloyd Kyi finalist for 2016 Golden Oak Award
STORMSTRUCK by John Macfarlane was selected for Kirkus Best of the Year
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR by Andrew Larsen was picked by 49th shelf amongst its favorite picture books of the year.
THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN by Amber Keyser made Bustle’s Best YA covers list
A SETTLER’S YEAR: PIONEER LIFE THROUGH THE SEASONS by Kathleen Ernst was chosen by the Wisconsin Center For The Book to represent the state at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in September. The US National Archives invited the author to D.C. in October to present a program about it as part of their noon lecture series. A SETTLER’S YEAR was named a Finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards – United States History category.
Transatlantic Agency’s Bestsellers of 2015:
GALLERY OF LOST SPECIES by Nina Berkhout
THE AMERICAN GIRL SERIES by Mary Casanova
SHOPLIFTER by Michael Cho
OPEN HEART, OPEN MIND by Clara Hughes
THEY LEFT US EVERYTHING by Plum Johnson
PUNISHMENT by Linden MacIntyre
LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE MOSQUE by Zarqa Nawaz
MEADOWLARK by Wendi Stewart
EXTREME MEAN by Paula Todd
BEYOND THE PALE by Emily Urquhart
THE RULE OF THREE by Eric Walters
BOUNDLESS by Kathleen Winter