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Ink Road signs Orie’s Surinamese-inspired YA dark fantasy

Black & White Publishing, part of Bonnier Books UK, has signed Within the Heart of Wicked Creatures by Rima Orie to its YA imprint Ink Road.

Clem Flanagan, editor at Black & White, acquired world rights (excl. German and Dutch) from Margot Belet at agentur literatur Gudrun Hebel.

The Hunger Games meets Stranger Things in this English translation of Rima’s second novel (original title: In het vervloekte hart, published by Moon Young Adult), which brings the nail-biting twists and captivating characters that Dutch-speaking readers have enjoyed to a new audience. Inspired by colonial Suriname, this compelling YA fantasy is about warfare, belonging and survival.                                                                                              

The story follows Priya Chkadhari, who is born during the blood moon and therefore cursed with the ability to manipulate other people’s souls. In her quiet rural village, Priya must hide her real identity – blood children are killed if discovered. 

However, everything changes when Priya passes the annual test to attend the country’s elite military school in Kuwatta. As she trains with other blood children, her curse becomes a gift. But Priya soon finds that as a participant in the guerilla war that has plagued the torn land of Awaran for centuries, survival is a luxury. What’s more, she discovers a strange, deadly threat that lurks in the cursed heart of the Kuwatta fortress. With dangers looming around her, Priya will need all of her strength if she wants to save both her friends and herself.

Rima Orie is a Dutch author who first began writing on Wattpad, garnering thousands of views. In 2018 she was selected out of 300 participants as the winner of the Moon YA writing contest to publish her debut novel, The Rogue Prince, a YA fairytale fantasy inspired by her Surinamese-Indian roots. The Rogue Prince was nominated for a number of Dutch youth literary awards, including the Young Adult Book of the Year, the youth literature prize in Ghent, Belgium and the Hebban Debut Novel Prize. When she isn’t writing, Rima works in the legal department at a municipality.

Rima Orie said: “I’ve worked on Within the Heart of Wicked Creatures for almost three years. It started as an idea in which I could merge history and fantasy. The history of the country where my parents were born, Suriname, and my favourite genre to write and read, fantasy. An English translation of my story by Ink Road is an absolute dream come true. I cannot wait until English readers will also be introduced to the dark and gritty, but magical, world of Awaran.” 

Clem Flanagan said: “Rima’s novel is unlike any other YA fantasy I have read. From the masterful worldbuilding to the carefully crafted characters, it had me hooked from the first pages. Rima is an incredibly talented novelist, and I can’t wait for readers in the UK and beyond to discover her work.”

Within the Heart of Wicked Creatures will be translated by Laura Watkinson and published on 20 June 2024.