Anna Burns’s virtuosic novel of the Troubles in Ireland, Milkman, was overlooked by major US publishers, to the point that when it landed on the Booker longlist, it did not have a US publishing partner.
My acquisition and championing of the book brought it to the forefront of the US market, where it sold over 100,000 copies. Burns and Milkman went on to win not only the 2018 Booker Prize but the International DUBLIN Literary Award as well.
The book created a minor controversy when it won the Booker Prize, as some critics didn’t appreciate Burn’s inimitable style. Those critics were in the minority, however, and were forced to eat their words when the book won the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Great stylists are always controversial. They need editors and creative partners who will catch fire with their vision and spread it to the world.