Canongate is to publish A Spell of Good Things, the latest novel by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀.
The story follows the lives of Eniola, Wuraola and their relatives, tracing the entwined fates of two families in a Nigerian city: one with all the fortune in the world, and one that cannot catch a break.
The synopsis explains: "Since a government edict cut his father’s job, Eniola’s family has been struggling to survive. His secondary school teachers beat him because of his unpaid fees, and his parents are behind on the rent and cannot pay for his apprenticeship at a tailoring shop. Nevertheless, he strives to make himself useful, folding wrappers and trying to forget about how he’s taunted by schoolmates.
"Wuraola, the daughter of the tailoring shop’s most valued customer, is an exhausted young doctor who can barely catch any sleep as she works long hours in a public hospital. After her boyfriend proposes, their relationship accelerates towards marriage even as his darker side is exposed, risking her family’s spell of good things.
"Meanwhile, Eniola becomes caught in a tangle of decisions that will bring him into collision with political forces in the city, and harm his family and Wuraola’s in the process."
Ellah Wakatama, editor-at-large at Canongate, acquired world rights, excluding North America and Nigeria, in the novel by from Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander. Knopf will publish in the US alongside Canongate in June 2022, with German rights also already sold to Piper.
Adébáyọ̀ is the author of Stay with Me, which won the 9Mobile Prize for Literature and Prix Les Afriques. It was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction, the Wellcome Book Prize and the Kwani? Manuscript Prize. It was also longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award.
Adébáyọ̀ said: "I began thinking about this novel in 2013 after a detour compelled me to realise what remained invisible to me in a town I had long called home. While it has taken a few years to write a novel I hope illuminates the tangled longings of its characters, I’m excited to share it with readers next year. It’s such a delight to work with Ellah and the lovely team at Canongate again. I continue to be pleased by the care and enthusiasm with which they published Stay with Me."
Wakatama added: "Ayọ̀bámi’s debut novel, Stay with Me, captured readers all over the world. It was a novel of promise and ambition, and it is such a joy to be publishing her second book, A Spell of Good Things, a novel about family secrets and bonds, thwarted hope, and the brutal realities of life in a society rife with inequality that will resonate with a wide range of readers. It’s a book that more than fulfils that early promise and establishes Adébáyọ̀ as a writer who can confidently claim a place as a rising global literary star."