Dialogue flies off with Papillon's 'extraordinary' debut

Dialogue flies off with Papillon's 'extraordinary' debut

Dialogue has bought a debut from Nigerian-born author Buki Papillon about a boy's secret intersex identity and his desire to live as a girl.

Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher at Dialogue Books, has acquired world rights in debut novel An Ordinary Wonder from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens. Dialogue will publish the title as a lead hardback in April 2020.

The book follows Oto, one of Yoruba twins, who is raised as a boy but who has a secret – he is intersex, and desires to live life as a girl. “This beautiful coming-of-age story follows Oto through boarding school and his attempt to emigrate to America to start a new life,” Caskie Mushens said. “Dealing with his complex relationships with his sister, his wealthy and powerful father, and the mother who views him as a monster, this is a moving examination of masculinity and gender.”

Lovegrove said: “There are these rare moments when an incredible talent lands on your desk and I am honoured that Buki Papillon landed on mine. An Ordinary Wonder takes us on an extraordinary journey of what it means to feel whole. It reminds us that these concepts are felt by everyone, everywhere and the deep riches of African storytelling and the multitude of lives.'”

Papillon said: "I am thrilled to become part of the Dialogue Books family for my novel, An Ordinary Wonder. When Juliet Mushens, my agent, told me Sharmaine Lovegrove had made us an offer, I knew my book had found its perfect home. I am in awe of Sharmaine and Dialogue Books powerful vision of celebrating diverse voices, and holding up a mirror for us all so no one is left wondering where they fit in the great human narrative. I look forward to An Ordinary Wonder finding its way into the hands and hearts of readers."

Papillon was born in Nigeria, the oldest of six, and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. After studying law at university, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is an alumnus of the Vona Voices Workshops for writers of color. She is the recipient of several scholarships and awards and her work has been published in Post Road Magazine and the Del Sol Review.