Canongate snaps up Tola Rotimi Abraham's 'moving debut'

Canongate snaps up Tola Rotimi Abraham's 'moving debut'

Canongate has acquired Tola Rotimi Abraham's "assured and lyrical" debut novel.  

Canongate editor-at-large Ellah Wakatama Allfrey acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Black Sunday from Meredith Kaffel Simonoff of DeFiore & Company.

Following the fate of one family over the course of two decades in Nigeria, Black Sunday "tells a universal story of sibling bonds and the reverberation of abandonment, loss and enduring love when a family is torn apart," said Canongate. 

"Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife, and the family, facing poverty, becomes drawn into the New Church, led by a charismatic pastor whose eye is firmly on material reward," reads the synopsis. "As their parents’ marriage collapses, the twin sisters and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins’ paths diverge once the household shatters. Each girl is left to locate, guard, and hone her own fragile source of power."

Wakatama Allfrey said:  "This moving story of a family’s fracture announces a writer adept at excavating the deepest truths of human emotion and our longing for love and acceptance. Tola Rotimi Abraham draws her reader into the lives of this family, the tenderness and betrayals of sibling relationships and two young women’s struggle to claim their place in the world. It is a story that is at once particular and yet recognisably universal and one I am delighted to bring to the Canongate list."

Abraham added: "I wanted to write a story that centred the lived experience of Nigerian girls. The intermingling of faith, family and politics presents these lives as full and complex. As Nigerian women, we are more than our poverty, pain or abuse. We are strong, beautiful, perceptive and ambitious. It's my hope that the characters in Black Sunday will resonate with all, and especially with those who have experienced loss, heartbreak and estrangement."