Trinidad author lands deal with Netflix

Trinidad & Tobago author Caroline MacKenzie.

(Trinidad Guardian) 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”

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