Fourth Estate is to publish two works of fiction by poet and playwright Inua Ellams.
Publishing director Helen Garnons-Williams acquired world English rights to the two titles from Zoe Waldie at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
The Half-God of Rainfall, described as an epic story and exploration of pride, power, female solidarity and revenge, will be published to coincide with London’s The Kiln Theatre’s (formerly Tricycle) production of it as a stage play in April 2019.
Described as "ingenious, dazzling, witty and moving", it tells the story of Demi - half Nigerian mortal, half Grecian God - a basketball hero whose acclaim draws the envy and then the wrath of Gods. In the end, only the women in Demi’s life, the mothers, the Goddesses, stand between him and a lightning bolt.
Fourth Estate has also acquired an as yet untitled novel, provisionally scheduled for 2021.
Garnons-Williams said the publisher is "overjoyed" to have signed Ellams, whom she described as "one of the freshest and most exciting new voices coming out of the UK right now."
"He is such a big-hearted writer and his gift for invention and linguistic agility are astonishing," she said.
Ellams added: "I started working on this in 2011 and various aspects of my personal mythology are built into the fabric of its world. I can’t wait to share The Half-God of Rainfall as a book and as play."
Born in Nigeria in 1984, Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars (flipped eye), Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales (Nine Arches), The Wire-Headed Heathen (Akashic), and #Afterhours (flipped eye).
His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out two runs at England’s National Theatre. He is currently adapting several plays for film and television. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.