Myriad buys new Sefi Atta novel

Rights - Fiction Friday, 22 February 2019

1970s Nigeria is setting for The Bead Collector by prize-winning African author


Myriad Editions has bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Sefi Atta’s new novel, The Bead Collector, 'a story of international espionage and intrigue set in 1970s Nigeria.'

According to the acquisition statement: 'Lagos, January 1976: a new military regime has been in power for six months, but rumours are spreading that a countercoup is imminent. At an art exhibition in the affluent Ikoyi neighborhood, Remi Lawal, a Nigerian businesswoman, meets Frances Cooke, who introduces herself as an American art dealer, in Nigeria to buy rare beads.

'Remi’s husband, Tunde, naturally suspects Frances—as he suspects any American in Lagos—of gathering intelligence for the CIA, yet she is unconvinced. The two women become friends and easily confide in each other about marriage, motherhood and politics.

'But when General Muhammed is assassinated Remi is forced to reconsider one particular conversation and whether the bead collector is really who she claims to be.'

Myriad’s publishing director Candida Lacey said: "With her signature subtlety and wit, Sefi Atta examines a brief but profound friendship between two women and its reverberations at a time of great transition.

"The Bead Collector gives us an enticing glimpse into the gossipy art set of 1970s Nigeria and carefuly places the kind of details you’d see in a Graham Greene novel to create a mounting sense of suspense and intrigue. The result is a riveting story of suspicion, female friendship and colonialism, all underlined with biting humour."

Lacey bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Michel Moushabeck at Interlink Books. Myriad will publish The Bead Collector in August and at the same time reissue Atta’s debut novel, Everything Good Will Come, 2006 winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.

Atta is the author of four novels, a collection of short stories and a collection of plays. Her literary awards include the 2006 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature and the 2009 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. A former finalist for the Caine Prize for African Writing, she is one of the judges of this year’s prize. Her plays have been broadcast by the BBC and performed and published internationally.

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