Europa to publish Kobby Ben Ben's 'bold' Ghana-set novel

Europa to publish Kobby Ben Ben's 'bold' Ghana-set novel

Europa Editions UK is publishing No One Dies Yet, a "bold" and "genre-breaking" novel by Kobby Ben Ben, set in Ghana's capital of Accra during 2019, the Year of Return.

Described as an "unsettling tale of murder in a country whose dead slaves are shackled with stories that must be heard", world English rights were acquired from Aida Lilly at kt literary. The novel will be published in autumn 2021.

The Year of Return, linked to the 400th anniversary of slaves landing in the US, memorialised the many who died during the slave trade in Ghana, particularly at Elmina Castle, while encouraging members of the African diaspora to visit.

In Ben's book, as Black diasporans around the world make the pilgrimage to West Africa, three African-American friends join in the festivities to explore Ghana’s colonial past and its underground queer scene. The synopsis reads: "They are thrust into the hands of two guides, Kobby and Nana, whose intentions aren’t clear, yet they are the narrators we have to trust. Kobby, a modern deviant according to Nana’s traditional and religious principles, offers a more upscale and privileged tour of Ghana and also becomes the friends’ link to Accra’s secret gay culture. Nana’s adherence to his pastor’s teachings against sin makes him hate Kobby enough to want to kill. 'No one dies yet,' Kobby begins, setting the tone of what will become an unsettling tale of murder in a country whose dead slaves are shackled with stories that must be heard."

As well as a writer, Ben is a bookstagrammer—@bookworm_man. Publisher Eva Ferri said: "I was so delighted to find out about Kobby’s exquisite taste for fiction from all over the world when I first encountered his Instagram page. I was even more delighted to start sharing book recommendations with him, and only some time later I found out about his incredible, inspiring writing. I could not put down No One Dies Yet as I found it such an extraordinary piece of fiction, bold, funny and dark. Could not wait to share it with Christopher [editorial director Christopher Potter], and cannot wait to share it with our readers next year."

Potter added: "We are excited to have acquired this genre-breaking, entirely original novel from a powerful new African voice."

Ben said: "I'm so excited No One Dies Yet has found a home at Europa. I've never read a book from Europa I haven't adored. My novel which explores other languages and marginalized cultures is the kind of niche Europa already has already made a name for. I'm happy to work with Christopher Potter and all of team Europa who have knowledge on publishing diverse stories taking into consideration cultural sensitivities."