7th September 2021

Hot Key Books acquires stunning illustrated verse novel from Jion Sheibani

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Hot Key Books, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired The Silver Chain by Jion Sheibani, an uplifting coming-of-age verse novel about family, mental health, and the healing power of music. Jenny Jacoby, Editor, acquired English language rights for the UK and Commonwealth from Emily Talbot at United Agents.

Publishing in hardback in April 2022 and illustrated throughout by Jion, The Silver Chain focuses on sixteen-year-old Azadeh who, whilst dealing with all the usual trials of being sixteen, has to juggle her violin scholarship and the realities of her mum’s mental health spiralling out of control. Written completely in verse, its lyrical format adds depth to the layered story, rooted in music.

Jion commented: ‘The Silver Chain is a work of fiction but, like most stories, it is drawn from personal experience. I wanted to write a book that celebrates the way we survive painful situations. In this case, it is music, but really it can be anything we are passionate about. Our mental health resources are infinite and that never ceases to amaze me.’

Jenny added: ‘The beauty of a verse novel like this is the many layers of a journey it can take you on, in so few words. From the first page I was hooked, immersed in Azadeh’s world, rooting for her as if she was a close friend. Jion handles big topics – and the universal – in an incredibly refreshing and precise way, and I’m delighted Jion is bringing her warm, inclusive voice to YA readers.’

Translation rights are handled by Emily Talbot at United Agents.

Jion Sheibani is half-English, half-Iranian and grew up in Brighton. She now lives in Paris with her family. A self-taught illustrator, she studied English Literature at Oxford University. She loves poetry and playing the violin.