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The Water Dancer
A Novel
By (author): Ta-Nehisi Coates
9780399590597 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / African American / Historical Sep 24, 2019
$37.00 CAD
Forthcoming 6.13 x 9.25 in 416 pages Random House One World
A boldly imagined work of magic and adventure from the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me.

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage—and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child—but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn’t understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram’s private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, all Hiram wants is to return to the Walker Plantation to free the family he left behind—but to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss.

This is a bracingly original vision of the world of slavery, written with the narrative force of a great adventure. Driven by the author’s bold imagination and striking ability to bring readers deep into the interior lives of his brilliantly rendered characters, The Water Dancer is the story of America’s oldest struggle—the struggle to tell the truth—from one of our most exciting thinkers and beautiful writers.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING, AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: We Were Eight Years in Power, a collection of mostly previously published essays, was an instant bestseller and named to many “best of the year” lists. Between the World and Me, his last original work, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Altogether, his three books have sold nearly 2 million copies in all formats.

HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FICTION DEBUT:Ta-Nehisi’s signature lyrical power has helped fuel the anticipation of his fiction debut. He has created buzz by reading fragments of the work at standing-room-only events from the AWP conference to Shakespeare and Company in Paris to Pioneer Works in Brooklyn.

LOYAL FOLLOWING: Coates’s core readership has followed him from The Atlantic to his bestselling books to his first foray into imaginative literature, a critically acclaimed, blockbuster run of Marvel’s The Black Panther, which sold over 300k copies and helped shaped the record-breaking movie, for which he was a consultant.

COMBINES FAMILY SAGA, LOVE STORY, HISTORICAL EPIC, AND DAZZLING SPECULATIVE FICTION: The book draws on deep research and the author’s own unfettered imagination to dramatically recast the story of slavery and freedom as an emotionally charged adventure with the highest stakes.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Ta-Nehisi lives in New York City with his wife and son.

Author Residence: New York, NY

Author Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Marketing: Advance reader’s edition

Pre-pub consumer outreach and review push

Online marketing outreach

Social media campaign

Targeted email marketing

Random House e-newsletters and websites

Major book club outreach

Reading group guide online

Library outreach



Publicity: National media attention

National/local review and feature print attention

National/local radio attention

Online review and feature attention

NPR campaign

10-12 city author tour

Tie-in to Random House Speakers Bureau schedule

Social Media Campaign

Targeted blogger outreach



Author Website: ta-nehisicoates.com

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