Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Lands Memoir Deal With HarperCollins

Posted on July 3, 2012

HarperCollins imprint Ecco won a heated auction for the rights to publish the memoir of United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. Trethewey, a Pulitzer Prize winner, will publish the as yet untitled memoir sometime in 2014.

Ecco said in a statement that the memoir "will map the intersections of personal and cultural history, as it navigates the channels and byways of memory and the legacy of race in America." The book will chronicle her life beginning with her early childhood in Gulfport, Mississipi, where she was the daughter of a black mother and a white father. She was born the year before the Supreme Court struck down the anti-miscegenation laws with Loving v. Virginia. The memoir will detail "her experiences growing up mixed race in the South of the '70s and '80s, her close relationship with her mother, who was later murdered by her stepfather, a Vietnam veteran, and the repercussions and resonances of these seminal events in her life and work."

Daniel Halpern, the President and Publisher of Ecco, had this to day about the deal: "I can't remember a more emotionally intense auction for a book, ever. I truly admire Natasha's spirit, her graceful presence on these pages, which tell a story that no one is likely to forget."

Trethewey herself says, "I am honored to work with this venerable press, and with Daniel Halpern in particular, on a book I know will be difficult to write even as it seems that the past-and geography-have rendered me destined to do so."