Asylum was originally published by Pan MacMillan in South Africa in 2017. The Sunday Times (SA) described Asylum as ‘the most credible – and therefore the most disturbing – dystopian novel I [have] ever read: a landscape withering under the onslaught of climatic change, the spread of an uncontrollable superbug, the posturing limpness of politicians and the vague helplessness of well-intentioned but under-supported medical staff.’
Told through the strange and mesmerising diaries of a man with an incurable illness,Asylum is an existential literary novel, set in a quarantine facility in the arid South African Karoo desert. The novel explores the quest for survival when faced with an incurable illness, part inspired by the author’s own degenerative eye condition.
Marcus Low is a Cape Town-based writer and public health specialist. He completed an MA in creative writing at the University of Cape Town in 2009 – for which he wrote an early draft of Asylum. Marcus previously worked as Policy Director at the Treatment Action Campaign, an influencial South African civil society organisation that advocates for the rights and interests of people living with and affected by tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. He remains involved in public health policy both in South Africa and internationally. His novelAsylum was in part inspired by the incarceration of patients with drug-resistant forms of TB in South Africa circa 2008 – something he directly encountered in his work. He was born in Vryburg, South Africa in 1979.
Lauren Parsons, Commissioning Editor comments: ‘We are delighted to sign this searing and engaging novel. Marcus is a wholly original writer and I can’t wait for everyone to read this brilliant and terrifyingly prophetic book’.
Follow Marcus on Twitter at @MarcusLowX