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Faber to publish Exiles by William Atkins

William Atkins and hie book Exiles
Faber is to publish a luminous exploration of exile from William Atkins, the award-winning author of The Immeasurable World and The Moor.

Faber has acquired UK&Comm with translation rights in Exiles: Three Island Journeys by William Atkins from Patrick Walsh at PEW. Publication is scheduled for 5 May 2022.

What connects French anarchist Louise Michel, Zulu prince Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo and Ukrainian revolutionary Lev Shternberg? Each of them was exiled to a remote island at the height of European colonialism. Each of them sacrificed freedom and home to larger ideas of freedom and home.

In Exiles, William Atkins travels to their islands of banishment – Michel’s New Caledonia in the South Pacific, Dinuzulu’s St Helena in the South Atlantic, and Shternberg’s Sakhalin off the Siberian coast – in a bid to understand how exile shaped them and the people among whom they were exiled. In doing so he illuminates the solidarities that emerged between the exiled subject, on the one hand, and the colonised subject, on the other. Rendering these figures and the places they were forced to occupy in shimmering detail, Atkins reveals deeply human truths about displacement, colonialism and what it means to have and to lose a home.

Laura Hassan, Associate Publisher, Faber, said “I feel extremely lucky to work on this mesmerising book. It is a moving, empathetic exploration of exile that will resonate in our era of mass human displacement. Part biography, part travel, part history, Exiles will cement Atkins’s reputation as one of our greatest writers of place.”

William Atkins said: “‘Exile’ is a word that has haunted me all my adult life; this book is my attempt to grapple with its meanings, by following the journeys of three people I came to love and admire. I couldn’t be more delighted that Laura Hassan, Mo Hafeez and their brilliant colleagues at Faber are shepherding it into the world.”

William Atkins’s first book, The Moor, was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and his second, The Immeasurable World, won the Stanford Dolman Travel Writing Award. In 2016 he was awarded the British Library Eccles Prize.  His journalism and reviews have appeared in Harper’s, the Guardian and the New York Times.

He is guest editor of a special travel-writing edition of Granta publishing in November 2021.