Cyrena Lee & Julia Kuo’s YA Graphic Novel on the Pressures of Prodigy



Cyrena Lee‘s debut as a YA graphic novel writer, drawn by Julia Kuo of I Dream of Popo, is tentatively titled Prodigy, though maybe they are wondering to see how Mark Millar, Image Comics or Netflix react to that. Prodigy follows “Japanese-American character Ashima Shiraishi’s swift ascent in the climbing world as a child prodigy and how she dealt with the immense pressure from her parents, her peers, and the media spotlight to continually be the best.”

Picked up by Trisha de Guzman at at publishers FSG, the publication of Prodigy is planned for the autumn of 2025. Cyrena Lee’s agent Britt Siess at Britt Siess Creative Management and Julio Kuo’s agent Emily Van Beek at Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal.

Cyrena Lee is a freelance writer based between NYC, Paris + Taipei, and sometimes other places. She is interested in holograms, lucid dreaming, meditating, eating hot pot, learning languages, and climbing. She studied Anthropology at Barnard College, spent time abroad in Beijing and Paris, and then moved to Shanghai to explore the world of advertising at Oglivy. Since then, she’s worked in creative marketing a variety of startups, and is currently working on several novels and a collection of short stories.

Julia Kuo tweeted the news, saying “Her name is Ashima Shiraishi. If you are a climber, you may have heard of her! I’ll be working on my first graphic novel about Ashima’s meteoric rise and all the pressure and attention that came with it. I’m so excited to help @cyrenaly tell this story about a sport that has shaped the last 8 years of my life and an athlete I have admired ever since – and to learn a brand new format!” Julia Kuo is the author and illustrator of Let’s Do Everything and Nothing and the illustrator of several picture and specialty books including the New York Times bestselling book RISE. She has created editorial illustrations for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Vox Media and has taught illustration courses at Columbia College Chicago and at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. She has been an artist-in-residence twice at the Banff Centre for the Arts and was a 2019-2021 fellow with the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Seattle, WA.

Farrar, Straus and Company was founded in 1946 by Roger W. Straus and John C. Farrar. In 1964 Robert Giroux’s name was added to the roster and the company became Farrar, Straus and Giroux – FSG. They are now part of Macmillan with a number of imprints.

Posted in: Comics | Tagged: Agent, Cyrena Lee, fsg, graphic novel, Julia Kuo, prodigy, ya

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