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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 09:00 GMT
US launch for mother's debut book
Nia Wyn and her son Joe
Nia Wyn said she had read letters from the book's readers to Joe
A first-time author's story of coping with the birth of her disabled son is set to be published in America.

Nia Wyn, from Cardiff, won critical praise for her debut book Blue Sky July, describing her life after Joe, nine, was born with cerebral palsy.

It has sold more than 10,000 copies since being published by independent Welsh company Seren in October.

Now a major UK publishing house, Penguin, has bought the paperback rights for a US launch in the summer.

Blue Sky July, Ms Wyn's lyrical account of life with Joe, has won applause from the critics.

She described it as her "therapy" while she and Joe's father, Alex, worked to overcome their son's condition and challenge doctors' predictions about the quality of life they could expect for him.

Having been told that Joe would never recognise them and never speak, he is now able to see and talk and attends a mainstream school.

New cover

Ms Wyn, who grew up in Prestatyn, said her book began as "diary jottings", usually when Joe was asleep, about her thoughts and feelings before she realised it was developing into a story.

Sending off the book to the publishers was "a bit like sending off a piece of your heart," she said.

Blue Sky July was chosen as BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week, BBC Radio 5 Live's Book of the Month and WH Smith's Book of the Month.

The book has also been serialised in two British national newspapers as well as by the Kenyan newspaper, the Daily Nation, featured on the BBC World Service and reached number 21 on Amazon's bestseller list.

Translation negotiations are said to be underway, but just before Christmas Ms Wyn learnt that Penguin had bought the UK and US paperback rights.

Under the publishers' Michael Joseph imprint, the book will have a new cover design for its UK launch in February and will be released in America in the summer.

'Uplifting story'

Ms Wyn, who has worked as a journalist in Wales and London, said: "It was nice Christmas news to hear. I'm just amazed.

"I wrote it in the dead of night and didn't really imagine it would connect with people.

"The best part of it has been the letters I've been having. They have come from so many different people in different walks of life.

"Mothers in a similar position to me were saying that they felt that it reflected for them feelings and thoughts that were difficult to say. I've been thrilled with that.

"People have written to say nice things about Joe and I think that's nice for him. Some of the letters I have read to him."

Seren editor Penny Thomas said: "Many have spoken of being deeply moved by this heartrending but also uplifting story. Nia's lyrical prose has been praised as a "hotwire to the emotions"."

Louise Moore, managing director of Michael Joseph, said: "Seren did a wonderful job in discovering this book, and now we are keen at Penguin to bring it to an even wider audience and give it the legs it deserves."

Nia Wyn on deciding to publish what was initially her diary

'Therapy' of mother's debut book
29 Sep 07 |  South East Wales
Cerebral palsy children 'happy'
28 Jun 07 |  Health
Forces sweetheart 'now an angel'
31 Mar 07 |  England


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