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Manilla Press to publish ‘magical’ new novel from Laura Imai Messina

Manilla Press, the boutique literary imprint dedicated to publishing unique author-led fiction and non-fiction of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired The Library of Heartbeats from international bestselling author, Laura Imai Messina. The text will be translated by Lucy Rand.

Publishing Director Sophie Orme acquired world English language rights from Renata Petruseva at Agenzia Malatesta.

On the peaceful Japanese island of Teshima there is a library of heartbeats, a place where the heartbeats of visitors from all around the world are collected. In this small, isolated building, the heartbeats of people who are still alive or have already passed away continue to echo.

Several miles away, in the ancient city of Kamakura, two lonely souls meet: Shuichi, a forty-year-old  illustrator, who returns to his home-town to fix up the house of his recently deceased mother, and eight-year-old Kenta, a child who wanders like a shadow around Shuichi’s house.

Day by day, the trust between Shuichi and Kenta grows until they discover they share a bond that will tie them together for life. Their journey will lead them to Teshima and to the library of heartbeats . . .

Laura Imai Messina said: ‘‘I went to the Library of Heartbeats at a very difficult time in my life. I came away with a new story, a lighter heart and a spring in my step. It’s a great pleasure to entrust this novel to Manilla Press because I know their passion and professionalism. They did such a great job with The Phone Box at the Edge of the World and I feel this new book couldn’t be in better hands.”

Sophie Orme said: “The Phone Box at the Edge of the World captured my heart and the hearts of so many readers. With The Library of Heartbeats, Laura has once again discovered a truly magical place and woven a beautiful story around it – a story of grief, hope, friendship and love, peopled by unforgettable characters. I can’t wait to press it into everyone’s hands.”

Laura Imai Messina was born in Rome and moved to Tokyo at the age of 23. Her bestselling novel The Phone Box at the Edge of the World was published in 25 countries. Laura teaches at some of the most prestigious Japanese universities, as well as writing for newspapers and working with the Japanese National TV Channel NHK.

The Library of Heartbeats will be published in hardback, audio and eBook on January 4th, 2024.