‘SYMPTOMS’ TO BE PUBLISHED IN BRAZIL
I’M DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE that V&R Editoras, a fast-growing, mid-sized Latin American publisher, acquired the rights to publish SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN in Brazil in both Portuguese and Spanish.
My advisors warned me that, due to the progressive nature of its subject matter (a teen grappling with gender identity) SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN might be a tough sell abroad. Nevertheless, after selling the rights to HarperCollins in the US, my amazing agent prepared a list of target countries for our international team. Armed with this list, The Barors (who are not only cool people, but also have the most epic agency name in the biz) sallied forth to the Frankfurt Book Fair last month. They did meet with many editors who liked the book, but found it too progressive; many of these had only recently begun to publish books with gay and lesbian themes, and found gender identity too taboo to tackle. Others said their languages were simply too gendered to render an effective translation. I found this fact particularly interesting—because, in the book, the main character, Riley, struggles with the gender-biased nature of English. So it appears that, even during the sales process, life imitates art.
I’m grateful to my agents and to my new foreign publishers, whom I look forward to meeting (I’ve already caught my wife browsing flights to Rio.) To be honest, I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the idea that my words will be translated into two foreign languages. Mostly, I’m thrilled that the conversation about gender identity and equality continues to open around the world.