Faber lands debut middle-grade series from Boakye

Faber lands debut middle-grade series from Boakye

Faber has signed three more children's titles from Jeffrey Boakye, including a debut middle-grade fiction series.

Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer, the first in Boakye's debut middle-grade fiction series, will publish in early 2023. A moneymaking adventure set in the 1990s, the new series follows Kofi, an 11-year-old natural entrepreneur, looking for different ways to earn pocket money in a school obsessed with music. Set long before the internet and smartphones, Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer is a "heartwarming adventure". 

Following the success of his non-fiction title Musical Truth: A Musical History of Modern Black Britain in 28 Songs—the only non-fiction title to have been nominated for the 2022 CILIP Carnegie Medal—Boakye has written a follow-up. Musical World, a "compelling and dynamic" title, explores 20th and 21st-century popular culture via various musical genres including jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll, soul, reggae and ska, specifically focusing on the impact of Black culture on wider mainstream culture and politics. It will publish in summer 2023. 

Musical Truth will publish in paperback on 7th April 2022 and its sequel, Musical World, will follow in summer 2023. The first in Jeffrey’s debut fiction series, Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer, will publish in spring 2023.

Leah Thaxton acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (including Canada) to Musical World from Sarah Such at the Sarah Such Literary Agency, as well as UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to Boakye’s new middle-grade fiction series in a two-book deal. 

Boakye co-hosts the BBC Radio 4 show "Add to Playlist" with Cerys Matthews. For Black History Month, Virgin Radio broadcast a one-off, one-hour radio programme based around Musical Truth, featuring 13 songs from the book and introductions from Boakye. He has also chaired various events, including a National Literacy Trust virtual appearance with the authors of Blackout (Electric Monkey), which was attended by more than 3,000 children.

Commenting on his new non-fiction and debut middle-grade series, Boakye said: "The Musical Truth paperback is set to be a landmark publication in my literary career so far. It’s a privilege to be working with the team at Faber on this project, bringing a vital conversation to libraries, bookshops and homes across the world. I am also absolutely thrilled to be announcing Musical World as the follow-up to Musical Truth. I’m passionate about exploring the truths of our shared human history through the joy of music and song, and this book will do exactly that. 

"My aim is for Musical World to open wider conversations around inequality and social justice. It will take a truly global look at wide-ranging histories and narratives, exploring the contributions of European countries including Spain, France, Italy and Germany, as well as many others across all the continents. Through Musical World, audiences of all ages will be invited to examine who we are, and how we got here.

"Representation is important. Black histories are important. Black cultures are important. Childhood joy is important. Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer speaks to all of this. This is a novel full of joy and love as well as excitement, adventure and surprises, exploring what it meant to grow up Black in Britain. It’s the most exciting thing to have Faber Children’s at the publishing helm. Faber is committed to bringing a range of stories and experiences to the fore. I cannot wait for the world to meet Kofi."

Thaxton added: "Faber is privileged to publish Jeffrey, a secondary school teacher with multiple strings to his bow. His exceptional talent knows no bounds. I am inordinately proud that we will also be publishing Jeffrey's fiction series for middle grade readers. Jeffrey's fiery, intelligent and dynamic historical playlist, Musical Truth, placed him front and centre of a much bigger media conversation across Radio 4 and Virgin Radio, and the follow-up, Musical World, promises to do the same."