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Footnote Press snaps up ‘lyrical, precise and visceral’ debut novel from author and actor Hanako Footman

Footnote Press has acquired Mongrel, the debut novel from writer and actor Hanako Footman. 

Editor Rose Green acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio from Rachel Yeoh at Madeleine Milburn Agency for publication in February 2024. Mongrel was longlisted for the Mo Siewcharran Prize in 2021.

An intense dissection of familial roots and identity, as well as the fetishization of East Asian women, Mongreltells the story of Mei, a Japanese-British girl growing up in Surrey as she grieves the death of her mother; Yuki, a Japanese music student newly arrived in London; and Haruka, a young bar hostess living in Tokyo. As the strands of Mei, Yuki and Haruka’s lives separate and intertwine, Mongrel reveals a tangled web of isolation, sex, love, and ultimately, hope. 

Rose Green says:

‘Hanako’s writing is lyrical, precise and visceral in her depiction of adolescence, sex, grief and trauma. Mongrelcaptures the pain and glory of growing up: the sunny joys and the devastating lows, the tightrope between caution and abandon that each of her characters treads. Not only is it an incredibly relatable story of early adulthood, but it explores the particular experience of growing up half-white, half-Japanese in the UK. I’m delighted that Mongrel is my first acquisition at Footnote – I could not have asked for a better book or author.’

Hanako Footman says:

Mongrel is a story celebrating the nuance and beauty of belonging to more than one place. It is a tale that spans generations and countries, from the UK to Japan, encompassing the growing pains of youth and the aches of adulthood. It’s a home for anyone that wants it. And a love letter to my mother.

I feel very lucky to have Rose Green and the team at Footnote Press championing Mongrel, all the way to publication. As well as the unending support Rachel Yeoh and everyone at Madeleine Milburn has so generously shown me.’

Hanako Footman is a British-Japanese actor and author living in London. She studied at LAMDA, and has since gone on to star in notable projects across film, TV and theatre. Mongrel is her debut novel, inspired by the lack of representation she felt in her own industry.