每日英語跟讀 Ep.K249: Even Nobel Winners Face Supply-Chain Problems
When Abdulrazak Gurnah released his 10th book, “Afterlives,” last year, his editor was sure it would become his first major bestseller. For more than three decades, he had drawn stellar reviews but never gained a large readership.
“I have felt there’s a much bigger audience for him out there,” said Alexandra Pringle, executive publisher of Bloomsbury, who has worked with Gurnah for more than 20 years. “I thought, ‘This is it, this is going to be his moment.’ ”
“Afterlives,” which explores the brutality of Germany’s colonial rule in East Africa, came out in Britain in September 2020 and was hailed as a masterpiece. But it failed to reach a wide readership and wasn’t even published in the United States. Pringle wondered if Gurnah’s moment might never come.
A year later, it finally did. Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, landing him in the company of Gabriel García Márquez, Albert Camus and William Faulkner, and he became the first Black laureate since Toni Morrison in 1993. The news sent booksellers across the world scrambling to stock his novels and set off a frenzy to secure translation and reprint rights. His agent, Peter Straus, said foreign rights to his books have sold in “30 territories and rising.”
After the Nobel announcement, Straus began fielding bids from six American publishers for “Afterlives.” U.S. rights to the novel sold to Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Random House, which plans to release it in August 2022. Riverhead also acquired North American rights to two older Gurnah books, “By the Sea” and “Desertion,” that had gone out of print.
Rebecca Saletan, who acquired the books for Riverhead, said in a news release that she was drawn to the “combination of narrative magic and a deeply inhabited and often devastating portrayal of the colonial and postcolonial experience” in Gurnah's work.
But as offers poured in from international publishing houses, many readers who were eager to sample Gurnah’s work were frustrated. The audience was suddenly there, but copies of his books were not — in several cases, even e-book and audiobook versions aren’t available.
The reasons for the shortfall are manifold. Because of the low demand for Gurnah’s work over the decades, many of his titles were out of print in the United States and in low stock in Britain.
古納作品難買的原因很多。他的書數十年來乏人問津，許多已在美國絕版，在英國庫存也很少。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5870567