Doubleday wins nine-way auction for Anglo-Nigerian writer's debut

Doubleday wins nine-way auction for Anglo-Nigerian writer's debut

Doubleday has acquired two novels by Anglo-Nigerian writer Nikki May in a "hotly contested" nine-way auction.

May's debut, Wahala, will publish in 2022, to be followed by a second novel, Brown Girl in the Ring

Editorial director Jane Lawson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights including audio (excluding Canada) in a six-figure deal from Catherine Cho at the Madeleine Milburn Agency. North American rights were sold in a seven-figure deal to HarperCollins Custom House, with Wahala to be published in both territories in January 2022.

Wahala (meaning "Trouble") is a "contemporary friendship novel with a crime twist". Three 30-something Anglo-Nigerian friends are living in London; Ronke, desperate to settle down, is in love with Kayode; Boo has a husband and daughter, but feels unfulfilled and unsure where she belongs; Simi has a successful career lifestyle, though she is crippled by imposter syndrome, and her husband thinks they’re trying for a baby, but she's not. When the charismatic Isobel arrives in their lives, tension mounts until a hidden trauma reveals itself in a tragic act.

Lawson said: "Wahala immediately dazzled me with its charm and humour combined with its shocking killer twist. It is clever and surprising about female friendship among modern women. What is more enthralling is how Nikki May subverts her story to explore dramatic themes of vengeance and jealousy, which reap destruction on this novel like a Greek tragedy, giving it even greater power and resonance. All of this is set to the most delicious scenes of Nigerian cooking, Afrobeats and fashion." 

May commented: "I always wanted to read a book that had people like me in it. After a long (and loud) lunch with friends at a Nigerian restaurant I wrote the first scene. The characters became flesh and wouldn’t let me go. I’m thrilled to be published by Doubleday, so many of their authors books line my shelves, it’s an honour to join them. The passion, energy and enthusiasm of Jane and her team completely won me over. My amazing agent, Catherine, held my hand every step of the way."