The bookseller – Rights – #Merky Books seizes Wolfe’s “true masterpiece”

#Merky Books snapped up Toya Wolfe’s “remarkable” debut Last summer on State Street.

Deputy editor of Stormzy’s Penguin Random House, Tallulah Lyons acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights from Meredith Kaffel Simonoff of the Gernert Company, previously at DeFiore and Company.

The coming-of-age story about friendship, community and resilience, set in Chicago housing projects during a life-changing summer, will be released by #Merky in March 2023. It was first published in the United States by HarperCollins imprint William Morrow in June.

Its synopsis reads: “An unlikely trio: Felicia ‘Fe Fe’ Stevens, daughter of a fiercely protective mother; Precious Brown, daughter of a prominent church elder; and Stacia Buchanan, daughter of a Gangster Disciple Queen-Pin. They have a simple friendship, spending the sunny days with games of Double Dutch. But when Fe Fe invites the mysterious Tonya into their fold, life as they know it will never be the same.

“In the context of Chicago’s Robert Taylor homes, Wolfe drew on her own lived experiences growing up in housing projects, and at its core, Last Summer on State Street is a story about bonding, connection, ties, the braids of the kind that Robert Taylor tied.

Wolfe said, “So honored to join the #Merky Books family. I longed to write a novel about a community that rarely sees itself in print, so it’s such a wonderful union. Last summer on State Street is a novel about a very specific space on Chicago’s South Side, told by a woman who remembers her childhood in vivid detail. This story will travel to the UK and beyond, and I’m thrilled that people in those countries, so far from State Street, are meeting Fe Fe, Precious, Stacia and Tonya.

Lyons commented, “From the first page, I was gripped by this remarkable novel. Last summer on State Street is a heartbreaking yet heartwarming story that stays with you long after you put it down. This is a book I urge everyone to read – Toya has written a true masterpiece and I’m honored that Toya has chosen #Merky Books as his UK literary home.

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