BABEL: The Preorder Guide

Babel: An Arcane History comes out into the world in less than three weeks, can you believe it? I’ve been dreadful about updating my website with preorder information, but here at last is a comprehensive preorder guide to the various special editions that are still available, what sorts of bonus features they have, and whether you can order them outside the US/UK.* Some editions – specifically the signed B&N Exclusive and the signed Waterstones Exclusive – sold out very quickly, but I’m happy to assure you all that there remain signed editions of both the US and UK covers (I know folks are very split on which one looks better!) that can be preordered, both domestic and internally.

*Babel will also be featured in a number of subscription boxes including Illumicrate and FairyLoot, but since those have very long waitlists, I’ve left them off this pre-order guide. The Librarian Box edition has also been left off as that sold out.

Indigo Exclusive Edition

US cover. Includes an exclusive and cheekily written Dramatis Personae at the back (not found in any other editions.) Unsigned; Indigo is Canada-based but ships to the US and other select international locations.

Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition

US cover. Includes an exclusive annotated bibliography of novels and monographs that inspired the world behind Babel (not found in any other editions.) Originally signed, but those have sold out; some stores may carry signed copies on publication date but can’t guarantee it. Does not ship internationally. It is mysteriously cheaper to buy than any regular edition of the hardcover in the US, but let us not question our gifts from the B&N overlords.

Harvard Book Store Indie Preorder Edition

US cover. Comes with exclusive character bookmarks (Robin and Ramy, see above), illustrated by Kimberly McDonald. These come signed and personalized at the buyer’s request – you can indicate your preference at the checkout page. Harvard Book Store does not ship internationally.

Mysterious Galaxy Indie Preorder Edition

US cover. Comes with exclusive character bookmarks (Victoire and Letty, see above), illustrated by Kimberly McDonald. Signed bookplates. Mysterious Galaxy does ship internationally. (Not many of these are left so be quick!)

Waterstones Exclusive Edition

UK cover. Even after the signed Waterstones edition ran out, they ordered more of the exclusive edition because a) the UK cover is incredible and b) the UK cover is even more incredible with black sprayed edges! Waterstones is based in the UK, but ships internationally.

Forbidden Planet Signed Edition

UK cover. Signed; Forbidden Planet is based in the UK, but ships internationally.

Fox & Wit Special Edition

Comes with a exclusive dust jacket with an alternate cover (pictured). The only versions left in stock are non-signed and US-only. Note: this one has a later shipping date because of restocking due to high demand.

The Broken Binding Special Edition

Signed and numbered; limited to 1500 copies only. Red sprayed edges, ribbon bookmark, and alternative red boards. Goes on pre-sale to subscribers on August 13, and general sale on August 14. Appears to ship internationally with rates varying by country.

BABEL: UK Tour Announced

Forbidden Planet: Link Here


Manchester: Tickets not required, but you can find the details here:





BABEL: US Tour Announced

Dear readers,

At long last, I’ve got some tour dates to share with you! I’m hitting up just three cities in the US to celebrate Babel’s launch before I jet off to London for the UK tour – more information on that to come a little down the road. Here are all the times and dates:

Tuesday, August 23 @ 7:00 PM ET (SOLD OUT)
New York, NY
The Strand
In Conversation with Shannon Chakrabotry

Wednesday, August 24 @ 6:00 PM ET
Cambridge, MA
Harvard Book Store @ The Brattle Theater

Thursday, August 25 @ 6:30 PM ET
New Haven, CT
Atticus Bookstore Cafe, hosted at New Haven Free Public Library
In Conversation with Tochi Onyebuchi

Babel: the Waterstones Special Edition

I finally get to announce this! Waterstones and I are collaborating on a special edition of Babel, and I’ll just let the image speak for itself. They’re up for pre-order now at the Waterstones website. (They do ship internationally to a lot of countries including the United States – the full list of places they ship to is on their website.)

All of these will be signed. I have a lot of sheets to get through over the next few months, and I’ll be live-streaming some signing sessions as AMAs on Instagram like I’ve done in the past. So if you happen to notice me go live on a week night, pop in to say hi or ask a question!

“What if I’ve already preordered?” Hold on to that receipt. We have preorder swag coming for you as well! As we finalize things in the next few months, I’ll let you know through my newsletter how and where to sign up.

announcing BABEL

The wait is over! I can now share that my fourth novel, Babel, is out August 2022 from Harper Voyager.

Please meet the cohort: Robin, Victoire, Ramiz, and Letitia.

Art by Kimberly Jade McDonald

Now what’s it about?

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.

You can now add it on Goodreads here!

I’m also sending an essay to newsletter subscribers soon about the writing of Babel and its inspirations. It was supposed to go out last night, but I’ve received quite a lot of last minute sign-ups to the mailing list, so I’ll hold off on just a little bit to give everyone time! You can sign up here.

sign up for my newsletter!

Hey folks!

The powers that be have intimated I’m overdue at the point where I need to toughen up and learn how to run a newsletter. I get a lot of questions about where to keep up to date on new releases and the like, so I figured the easiest way was to create a mailing list that you can sign up for.

I won’t send newsletters very often–maybe a couple times a year? This is purely to let subscribers know about things like the release date of the Oxford novel (and the TITLE when we finally get to announce that?), in-person events, special editions and where they’ll go on sale, signed copies, and other information you might want to know if you like reading my books, and don’t feel like trawling social media to discover the latest news!

If that doesn’t sound too spammy for you, you can click here to subscribe!

news! news! huge news!

Today from Deadline Hollywood:

EXCLUSIVERebecca F. Kuang’s series of fantasy novels including The Poppy War, are set to be adapted for television after Peter Luo’s Starlight Media optioned the rights.

Starlight Media, which has backed films including Crazy Rich Asians and Midway, has taken the rights to The Poppy War, Dragon Republic and The Burning God.

The company has teamed with financing and production banner SA Inc to develop and finance the female-led, fantasy epic, which combines the history of twentieth-century China and a world of gods and monsters.

Allen Fischer from management/production company Artists First is packaging the project with Starlight, and is in the process of attaching a showrunner.

Ahhh! That’s all I got.

THE BURNING GOD is out today!!!

Happy launch day! I kicked off the morning chatting to Lucy Nalpathanchil on WNPR radio; thank you to Carmen Baskauf for producing! You can listen to the full archived show here.

Launching a book during a pandemic is weird. Normally I’d be at a local bookstore, signing stock and beaming in satisfaction at seeing my work on shelves (nope, that never gets old!). Today I’m wrapping up a trilogy, but it doesn’t feel as momentous as perhaps it should. I’ll be at home, sipping champagne and plugging away at the next book. I’m doing a modified version of Nanowrimo–I’m just writing about 1000 words a day, but that’s all I need to stay on track to have 190,000 done by the end of the year)–and my streak’s been unbroken so far so if the election couldn’t distract me, launch day sure can’t. But probably that’s the best way to avoid publication jitters–gotta keep my eyes on the next project.

Tonight I’ll be in virtual conversation with Ken Liu at Brookline Booksmith. (Tickets come with books and a signed bookplate). Since reading Ken’s Grace of Kings back in 2015 was what convinced me that there was space for a big China-inspired epic fantasy novel in the Western canon, it means a lot that I get to wrap up this trilogy doing an event with him. Then on Wednesday I’ll return to my favorite DC bookstore, Politics & Prose, with the brilliant Tochi Onyebuchi (tickets here), whose 2019 novella Riot Baby is one of the best things I’ve read recently. And that’s it for the TBG tour!

Some house-keeping things:

  • TBG will be back in stock on Amazon very soon. They sold out of their current inventory (good news, I think???) but have ordered more, so I don’t think those late November/December delivery dates are accurate. I’ll tweet updates as I learn more!
  • If you can’t wait for Amazon, I highly encourage getting it from your local indie bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop. Most of those, bless up, have NOT run out of stock.
  • “The Drowning Faith” (the extra Nezha scenes that were the pre-order bonus!) will be sent out to everyone who uploaded proof of purchase by the end of the day.

a lecture, an interview, and a new anthology

Three updates in one blog post! I’ve worked on several projects over the past few weeks, which I’m glad to finally get to share:

First, I was recently invited to guest lecture at Professor Erin Keating’s class at the University of Manitoba. My talk was titled “The Poppy War in Context: Asian American Speculative Fiction,” and you can watch the whole thing here. I particularly enjoyed the discussion that followed (somewhere around the 40 minute mark)–the students and audience asked some really wonderful, thought-provoking questions.

Second, I was THRILLED to chat with Evan Winter on Daniel Greene’s Youtube channel. I’ve been on Daniel’s show once before, and it was a delight; it’s always nice when your interviewer asks fresh and difficult questions. But I especially enjoyed this round because I’ve been a huge fan of Evan Winter’s RAGE OF DRAGONS since I read it earlier this year–it’s one of those high-octane, high-stress epic fantasy novels that you swallow over two days because you can’t put it down. It also has some strong thematic similarities to THE POPPY WAR, which we touched on in our conversation. The sequel, THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE, comes out in just one week; happily, I’ve already got a copy.

Third, I’ve got an anthology coming out soon–this time as a translator! I had the honor of translating the title story “The Way Spring Arrives” by Wang Nuonuo for the upcoming anthology edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang. More here from Tor:

“As the home of the critically acclaimed Broken Stars and Invisible Planets, Tom Doherty Associates continues to expand its Chinese science fiction and fantasy program with this brand new collection. It will feature stories by award-winning authors Anna Wu, Xia Jia, Gu Shi, and Wang Nuonuo, among others, with a star-studded team of translators including Rebecca F. Kuang, Carmen Yiling Yan, and Gigi Chang, and many more. The collection will also feature critical essays on the art of translation, the state of science fiction and fantasy in China and the United States by Emily Xueni Jin (Yale University), Xueting Christine Ni (From Kuan Yin to Chairman Mao), and Jing Tsu (Yale University).”