Helen Garnons-Williams at 4th Estate has pre-empted Marilyn and Me by Korean author Ji-min Lee. 4th Estate has UK and Commonwealth rights through Barbara Zitwer, and will publish in May 2019. The translator is Chi Young Kim, responsible for the English version of Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin, winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize. Mary Gaule at Harper Perennial signed NA rights. Emily Hayward-Whitlock of the Artists Partnership in London is handling film rights.
The novel centres on Alice, a translator for the American forces in Seoul who is asked to interpret for Marilyn Monroe as the actress visits Korea for a tour. Alice is also inveigled into becoming the bait in an operation to entrap a communist spy.
Garnons-Williams said: "[A] compelling and surprising story of damage and survival, grief and unexpected solace... Alice, raw and wry and wearing her grief like armour, is a wonderful character, and her experiences offer a fascinating - and timely - insight into an extraordinary time and place. We are thrilled to be publishing this darkly beautiful novel."