Netflix has snapped up the television rights for the as yet to be published debut novel of T&T national Caroline MacKenzie, which tells the tale of a Venezuelan family living in this country illegally.
The publishing rights for MacKenzie’s novel “One Year of Ugly”, have been purchased by Borough Press for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth excluding Canada, while 37 Ink has bought the publishing rights for the novel in the United States.
Ann Bissell, publicity director at HarperCollins, acquired “One Year of Ugly” for Borough Press from Sue Armstrong at C&W Agency.
TV rights were immediately snapped up by Netflix, handled by Luke Speed at Curtis Brown, and US rights were acquired by Dawn Davis, v.p. and publisher at 37 INK, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, from Zoe Sandler at ICM Partners.
The business magazine of the book industry, The Bookseller, announced the three-way auction for MacKenzie’s novel in an article last week.
Hardcover publication of the book is scheduled for March 2020.
MacKenzie, a freelance translator living in T&T, has described the deal as “a dream come true”.
“Through my daily translation work, I’ve been noting the influx of Venezuelans in response to the political and economic crisis for years, and have been both fascinated and disheartened by the local reaction to it,” MacKenzie is quoted as saying in The Bookseller.
“I knew there was a story to be told of the Venezuelan migrant experience in Trinidad, and I’m so happy I was able to tell it through Yola,” she said.
Yola Palacios is the protagonist and narrator of “One Year of Ugly”.
“One Year of Ugly is an immigration story exploring exile, belonging and exploitation with hilarity, verve, and compassion. In Yola Palacios, Caroline has created a character unlike any other I have met: she is brilliantly witty and brutally funny in her observations. I absolutely love her and I hope many readers will too,” Bissell is quoted as saying.
“Having escaped crumbling, socialist Venezuela, Yola Palacios hopes she and her family can finally settle into a peaceful new life in Trinidad,” Borough Press explained.
“Life for the Palacios is never quiet, and when Yola’s formidable Aunt Celia dies, the family once again find themselves living on the edge. For Celia had been keeping a very big secret – a local criminal called Ugly to whom Celia owes an awful lot of money. Without the funds to pay him off, Ugly forces the entire family to do his bidding until Celia’s debt is settled. What Ugly says, the Palacios do, otherwise: big trouble,” it stated.
MacKenzie is a former national scholar who speaks four languages and holds a Masters in technical translation from Imperial College London.
She was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for “The Dying Wish”, and was the winner of the 2018 Small Axe Literary Competition short fiction category for her satirical short story ‘The Chicken Coup: A Distinctly Masculine Adventure for Distinctly Manly Men”