The Indigo Press scoops ‘stunning’ debut from Hein

The Indigo Press scoops ‘stunning’ debut from Hein

The Indigo Press has scooped Riambel, a ‘stunning’ debut novel by Priya Hein. 

Susie Nicklin, commissioning editor, acquired world rights from Anna Soler-Pont at the Pontas Agency. The novel will be published on 23rd February 2023. 

The publisher wrote: ‘It is the story of 15-year-old Noemi who has no choice but to leave school and work in the house of the wealthy De Grandbourg family, just across the road from the Mauritian slums where she grew up. She encounters a world that is starkly different from her own – yet one which would have been all too familiar to her ancestors. Bewitched by a pair of green eyes and haunted by echoes, her life begins to mirror those of girls who have gone before her.’

The cover design incorporates original artwork by Mauritian artist Mila Gupta reflecting the works of Hein’s fellow Mauritian writers such as Jean Fanchette, Robert Edward Hart and Vijaya Teelock who are cited in the novel. 

‘This is a stunning achievement from Priya Hein,’ commented Nicklin. ‘Deceptively simple in style and plot, it is full of rage for the treatment of Mauritians at the hands of Europeans. Written in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, as a deliberate act of nonconformism, Priya invites us to reflect on the role of those who have enslaved humans to cultivate crops such as sugar. Since The Indigo Press is named in homage to those who were originally indentured to make this much-desired dye, it fits perfectly with our list and we are honoured to publish it.’

Hein added: ‘I am absolutely delighted that my debut novel, written in vignettes from the perspective of former slaves in Mauritius, will be published in the UK by Susie Nicklin at The Indigo Press. It is an honour for me as it is not every day that Mauritius is placed on a map, let alone a literary one. Riambel could not have found a better home and I cannot wait to share it with UK readers.’

About Priya Hein

Priya Hein was born in Mauritius. She has published several children’s books and short stories, and has contributed to a number of anthologies. In 2017 she was nominated by the National Library of Mauritius for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She was selected for the Women’s Creative Mentorship Project for the University of Iowa International Writing Program as an emerging writer.

Her debut manuscript Riambel won the 2021 Jean Fanchette Prize, chaired by J.M.G Le Clézio, winner of a Nobel Prize for literature. She was recently named by Electric Literature Magazine as one of twelve Mauritian Women Writers one should read.

Priya lives in Munich and Mauritius with her family. 

Author photograph © Florence Guillemain