Jeff Lemire, the award-winning, New York Times–bestselling author of Essex County and The Underwater Welder, will publish Roughneck, a new graphic novel, with Simon & Schuster and Simon & Schuster Canada, it was announced today. This literary graphic novel follows the story of a former hockey player forced to face his demons and reconnect with his Cree heritage when his troubled sister comes running home to the remote northern town where he now lives. Roughneck will be published in 2015.
Derek is a former hockey tough guy whose quick rise to the NHL was cut short when a brutal on-ice incident left him banned from professional hockey for life. Now, four years later, Derek has returned to Black River, his hometown in Northern Ontario, not far from the Moose Cree First Nation, where his mother grew up. Derek's slide into alcoholism and depression is interrupted when his long-lost sister, Annie, returns home trailing a violent ex-boyfriend. Together, the two escape to the woods, where they struggle to reconnect with the traditions of their Cree ancestors in order to escape their past and gain redemption.
Brit Hvide of Simon & Schuster acquired world English rights from Charlie Olsen of Inkwell Management.
Ms. Hvide commented, "We're absolutely honoured to be publishingRoughneck. It's a story about cycles—the way patterns, memories, and people return to us, again and again, whether we want them to or not. Jeff is one of those unique storytellers whose books speak to readers across all genres, and we think that Roughneck will be his finest work yet."
Kevin Hanson, Publisher of Simon & Schuster Canada, commented, "We are thrilled to add Jeff to our emerging list. His graphic novels are inspiringly original and explore ideas that are deeply Canadian."