We are overjoyed to announce that Tinder Press has acquired AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins. Publisher Mary-Anne Harrington acquired British Commonwealth rights in the novel, at auction, from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein.
The novel follows a mother and her young son as they flee across Mexico to escape the drug cartel which has murdered the rest of their family, and to attempt to cross the US border. Harrington said ‘I was blindsided by this book – it’s the best mother and child on the run story I’ve read since ROOM. I learned so much from it, in particular about la bestia, the trains migrants ride illegally to reach the border. Every twenty-one hours a person dies attempting to cross into the US from Mexico.
AMERICAN DIRT reveals the human face behind those headlines, and Jeanine Cummins has written an unforgettable novel that really resonates with our times.’
Jeanine Cummins worked for ten years in US publishing, and is the author of two previous novels and a bestselling memoir, A RIP IN HEAVEN. She researched the background to AMERICAN DIRT extensively ‘I spent a lot of time in the borderlands, just listening to the personal stories of migrants and the people who work tirelessly to support them, and the more I listened, the more compelled I felt to write this novel. It was daunting at first, but it’s thrilling now to see the book provoke such a passionate response in the publishing world.’ Cummins recently wrote an impassioned op-ed for the New York Times drawing on her experience as a foster mother, in reaction to Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border.
Tinder Press will publish AMERICAN DIRT in hardback, e-book and audio in January 2020. Harrington said, ‘The response to the book in house was one of the most compelling I’ve seen in my career – our Australian team came back to me in hours and said they hardly dared draw breath as they read, and our sales and publicity teams just wouldn’t leave me alone: we had to have this book! We’re going to make sure that publication in 2020 is unmissable, a real international publishing moment’. A major international publicity and marketing campaign, is planned, including an author visit to the UK.
AMERICAN DIRT was acquired in the US by Amy Einhorn for her Flatiron Books imprint. Einhorn described the novel as ‘both a page-turner and a literary triumph’. The US agent is Doug Stewart of Sterling Lord Literistic. Translation deals are being struck around the world, with major interest in the film rights.
‘A perfect balancing act with terror on one side and love on the other… it’s marvellous’ Stephen King
‘This tough, powerful novel is an eye opener… essential reading’ Tracy Chevalier
‘A Grapes of Wrath for our times’ Don Winslow
Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.
Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist.
Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world.
Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left.
For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg.
For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train.
For him, she will find the strength to keep running.
Vivid, visceral, utterly compelling, AMERICAN DIRT is a work of fiction inspired by a truth that demands, urgently, to be told: one unique, personal, unforgettable story to honour the hundreds of stories we may never get to hear.