Harvill Secker has triumphed in an eight-publisher auction for the “invigoratingly original” Africa Is Not A Country by Dipo Faloyin.
Liz Foley, publishing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown. It will be published by Harvill Secker in June 2022. US rights have been sold to W W Norton, German rights to Suhrkamp Verlag and Dutch rights to De Bezige Bij.
The synopsis explains: “So often Africa is depicted simplistically as purely consisting of arid red soil hosting nothing but safaris and famines. In this funny, insightful book, Dipo Faloyin corrects this view to create a fresh, realistic and comprehensive view of the continent. By turns intimate and political, he looks at the complex urban life of Lagos and the lively West African rivalry over who makes the best jollof rice, before giving us the story of democracy in 10 dictatorships, and the colonial foundation of the nations that make up modern Africa, many of which are still younger than your grandparents.
"We learn about the dangers of white saviours and the cultural significance of Aunties, and he provides us with a tour guide of where citizens of several African countries need to travel to visit their own cultural artefacts—90% of which are in museums outside the continent. We immerse ourselves in the energy and fabric of many different cultures and communities as Dipo shows his deep love of the region—as a concept, as a promise and as a reality.”
Faloyin is a senior editor (global) at Vice. He has spent the last three years building the online magazine’s coverage across Europe, Middle East and Africa. His writing has also appeared in Dazed, Prospect, the Huffington Post, Refinery 29 and others.
He said: “I am so lucky to be joining the Harvill Secker and Vintage family. From the very beginning it was clear they shared my deep passion for crafting an accurate portrayal of Africa. It's not lost on me what an incredible responsibility this is, but I have no doubt that with the guidance of Liz Foley and her brilliant team, and my superb agent Karolina Sutton, Africa Is Not A Country will help shift the narrative surrounding the world's second largest continent awayfrom deeply inaccurate stereotypes.”
Foley added: “Everyone at Harvill Secker and Vintage immediately fell for Dipo’s writing and his generous and energising approach to his subject. Africa is Not a Country perfectly balances being a hugely enjoyable read and an insightful investigation of damaging stereotypes, all presented in such a stylish and original way. We can’t wait to publish it.”