W&N has acquired Chimene Suleyman’s “explosive” memoir about one man’s control over many women and the sisterhood that formed in his wake.
Jenny Lord, executive publisher of W&N and Orion Literary, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Chain in a four-way auction from Lisa Baker at Aitken Alexander. It will be published in March 2024.
The synopsis reads: “In January 2017, Chimene Suleyman was on her way to an abortion clinic in Queens, New York with her boyfriend, the father of her nascent child. It was the last day they would spend together. In an extraordinary sequence of events, Chimene was to discover the truth of her boyfriend’s life: that she and many other women had been subtly, patiently and painfully betrayed.”
The publisher goes on that in the “spellbinding” memoir, Suleyman “exposes one man’s control over many women and the trauma he left behind, and celebrates the sisterhood that formed in his wake despite – and in spite of – him.
“Exploring how women are duped every day by individuals, she interrogates how society itself continually allows this to happen. She demonstrates that, no matter how intelligent, educated or self-aware they might be, over time a woman can be played into performing the age-old role of giver and nurturer: self-sacrificing and subordinate.
“Both a devastating personal testimony and a searing indictment of persistent misogyny, The Chain is a book for any woman who has questioned her relationship and buried her doubts, for any woman who can’t quite identify the source of her unease and for any woman who has been sheltered by the fierce protection of her female friends.”
Lord said: “I’ve never experienced an in-house response to a book quite like we saw with Chimene’s. Everyone who has read The Chain has immediately become obsessed, everyone has seen something of their own experience in the story, everyone has recognised the important conversation this book will start around the kind of bad behaviour in relationships that we really shouldn’t put up with.
“Spilling over with hard-won wisdom and written with a fierce heart and an intoxicating rhythm, no one could tell this story quite like Chimene. The Chain is one of the most outstanding memoirs I’ve ever read, and we can’t wait to share it with readers everywhere.”
Suleyman is a poet and writer of Turkish Cypriot descent who lives in London. She has written on the politics of race and immigration and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, BBC, NPR and Sky. She was a contributor to the crowdfunded publication The Good Immigrant, and in 2019 contributed to and co-edited its sequel, The Good Immigrant USA (Dialogue Books).
Suleyman said: “I wrote The Chain for every woman who has doubted her voice then found it again through the women around her. It is a deeply personal story, but tragically also a universal one. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right publishing home at W&N, where the book has already been taken to heart by so many people, where both the memoir and myself feel utterly safe, listened to and believed.”
Chimene Suleyman whose father is a Turkish Cypriot is a writer from London. She has written about race for Media Diversified, The Independent, IBTimes, The Pool, The Debrief, to a name a few. She has appeared on BBC Newsnight and BBC radio. She is a contributing essayist to best selling book The Good Immigrant, and her poetry collection Outside Looking On was featured in a Guardian’s Best Books of 2014 list. She currently lives in New York.