Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Books, has acquired two new books from African writer Binyavanga Wainaina, How to Write About Africa and It Is Only a Matter of Acceleration Now.
Simon Prosser, publishing director of Hamish Hamilton, acquired British and Commonwealth rights in both works from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency. North American rights have been acquired by Chris Jackson at Random House/Spiegel & Grau.
How to Write About Africa, scheduled to publish in 2017, blossomed from a satirical piece the author wrote for an issue of Granta magazine in 2005 of the same title, which garnered huge attention.
It Is Only a Matter of Acceleration Now, scheduled to publish in 2019, will be based on travels and interviews across Africa, aspiring to change readers’ perceptions of Africa in the way V.S. Naipaul's A Million Mutinies Now did with India.
Wainaina said: “Africa is beginning to shape itself to look like its selves. This great tearing and remaking will be the dominant aspect of my continent in the world over the next fifty years. What we see now will be barely recognizable, and in this great adventure, we begin to take charge of our fates, and move closer to a more central place in the world.”
Kenyan-born Wainaina won the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing for his story Discovering Home and is the founding editor of Kwani?, an East African literary magazine that has grown into an important source of new writing from Africa.
Prosser said: “Binyavanga Wainaina’s unique position – as both a brilliant, highly original writer and a fearlessly engaged thinker on Africa today -- ensures that these will be equally unique, inspiring and groundbreaking books. I couldn’t be more excited and proud to help them to reach the widest readership they can.”