HarperCollins Children's Books has signed a new middle-grade fiction series from Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, the authors of Slay in Your Lane (HarperCollins).
Their debut children's book The Offline Diaries will be published in hardback, e-book and audio on 11th November 2021, and will follow "two utterly unforgettable Year 8 girls Ade and Shanice".
Executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh and fiction publisher Nick Lake acquired world rights for three books from Crystal Mahey-Morgan of OWN IT!.
The publisher said the series is "a fresh, funny and contemporary story of friendship". Ade is about to start at a new school and is not happy with her stepdad for making them move here. Shanice has been at the school for a year already, and since her mum died, has been living with her dad and annoying older brother, spending most of her time outside school in her dad’s hair salon. The publisher said: "When the two meet in the salon, and spot each other’s diaries, an instant friendship is formed, and they start to chat online . . . but offline is a whole other story!"
Murtagh said: "I am thrilled to welcome Yomi and Elizabeth to the HarperCollins Children’s Books list. The Offline Diaries is an exciting and dynamic debut, forged by a unique writing partnership, which combines to create a powerful and fresh new voice in children’s books. Building on the authors’ own friendship, they have created two unforgettable characters in Ade and Shanice, and a story that is fresh, funny and feels so true. The Offline Diaries is about first friendships – what it means to meet your best forever friend – and how that relationship can shape your whole life. Readers will grow to love Ade and Shanice as they share their highs and lows and learn that the things that matter are almost always offline. It is a stunning start to a series set to supercharge the middle-grade market and win the hearts of readers everywhere."
Adegoke and Uviebinené added: "It’s been such an exciting process for us to bring Ade and Shanice to life. Navigating secondary school and friendships circles is such a significant part of all of our coming-of-age journeys and finding true friendships can really help shape who we become. It’s such a privilege for both of us to be able to create a world and characters inspired by this, and we hope to speak to and empower all young girls all over the world."
Adegoke is a multi-award-winning journalist and author who writes about race, feminism, popular culture and how they intersect, as well as class and politics. She has worked at ITN, "Channel 4 News" and The Pool as a senior writer. She was awarded journalist of the year by the Woman In Africa awards, named a Marie Claire Future Shaper and was awarded the Groucho Maverick.
Uviebinené is a multi-award-winning author, speaker and columnist at the Financial Times where she writes opinion pieces on mental health and Millennial treatment in the workplace. Her new book, The Reset: Ideas to Change How We Work and Live (Hodder & Stoughton), was published in April.