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W&N Memoir HB / TPB August £16.99 / £14.99 208pp 978 1 474 60659 2 / 978 1 474 60660 8 eBook: £16.99 / 978 1 474 60662 2

‘I don’t think I’ve read many books of such power and grace, or that pack such an emotional wallop in so short a space’ – Daniel Alarcón

EMMA REYES The Book of Emma Reyes A Memoir in Correspondence


The extraordinary, posthumously published memoir in letters of a Colombian artist whose writing was championed by Gabriel García Márquez.

This astonishing memoir of a childhood lived in extreme poverty in Latin America was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nine years after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel García Márquez. Comprising letters written over the course of thirty years, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing.

Emma was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogotá with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a convent housing 150 orphan girls. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually becoming an artist and befriending the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Far from self-pitying, the portrait that emerges inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long.

• To be published as an exquisite small format hardback with literary gift appeal.

Emma Reyes (1919–2003) was a Colombian painter whose letters were first published in 2012. She forged friendships with some of the most distinguished artists, writers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. The French government named her a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters after her death in 2003.


Author deceased

W&N Non-fiction • August 2017