The campaign supports the selected title to the highest level to ensure the book is celebrated worldwide.
We’re delighted to share that you can now pre-order Sharon Bala‘s highly anticipated debut novel, THE BOAT PEOPLE! The novel officially publishes with Doubleday US and McClelland & Stewart Canada on January 9, 2018. THE BOAT PEOPLE will be exported internationally in March 2018. On her website, Sharon shares some fascinating details about the wonderful designs of each cover: www.sharonbala.com/blog/feast
For readers of Khaled Hosseini and Chris Cleave, THE BOAT PEOPLE is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism.
When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his sixyear-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are terrorists now posing a threat to Canada’s national security.
Visit the following links to preorder!:
Sharon Bala’s short fiction has won three Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters Awards and been published, or is forthcoming, in: Grain, PRISM international, The New Quarterly, Room, Riddle Fence, and in a collection called Racket. Two of Sharon’s short stories, “Reading Week” and “Butter Tea at Starbucks”, were longlisted for the 2017 Journey Prize with the latter continuing to the shortlist as well. THE BOAT PEOPLE is her debut novel.
Pre-publication Praise for THE BOAT PEOPLE
“This earnest debut novel forcefully explores the issues surrounding immigration…deeply moving and nuanced, The Boat People asks what price a country is willing to pay when public safety comes at the cost of human lives.”
“A real ship of refugees inspires a novel about the messy consequences of war Memorable…Chilling…”
“The Boat People will – and should… – linger long in the mind as an almost Graham-Greene-esque thriller about Canada’s Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Homeric in her narrative arc, Bala’s novel is rhetorically purposive – but poetically, softly rhetorical…Bala is ahead by a century in the cricket score of politically powerful contemporary fiction.”
–Atlantic Books Today
“The Boat People is a powerful, gripping moral drama told with deep compassion and humanity. Sharon Bala takes us behind the headlines about refugees and asylum seekers straight into the beating hearts of unforgettable human beings. A timely tale and a beautiful, remarkable debut.”
-Lynne Kutsukake, author of The Translation of Love
“This wise and compassionate novel is an intimate portrait of one of the great humanitarian crises of our time. Its power lies in its breadth, for it examines not just those who come to our country seeking refuge, but also those who determine their fate. As such it implicates us all in the ongoing crisis.”
-Shyam Selvadurai, author of The Hungry Ghosts and Funny Boy
“The Boat People is a beautifully crafted story with a big heart. This novel has an urgency and relevance that cuts to the bone and will resonate with readers of all stripes. Bala offers no easy answers and no political posturing, but her magnificent storytelling will leave readers wondering about their own convictions, asking themselves, ‘What would I do? What would I have done?’ I love this book and, somehow, I empathized and understood every character’s motivation and heart, despite their seemingly opposing stances. The spirits of Bala’s complicated, well-developed characters will linger with you like ghosts; you will look for them in the newspaper, on the evening news, everywhere, and when you encounter them, you will pause and wonder, not only about them but about yourself.”
-Michel Stone, author of Border Child
“The Boat People is a burning flare of a novel, at once incendiary and illuminating. With a rare combination of precision, empathy and insight, Sharon Bala has crafted an unflinching examination of what happens when the fundamental human need for safety collides with the cold calculus of bureaucracy. In the best tradition of fearless literature, it shatters our comfortable illusions about who we really are and reveals just how asymmetrical the privilege of belonging can be. This is a brilliant debut – a story that needs to be told, told beautifully.”
-Omar El Akkad, author of American War
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.
For more information, please contact: