Hachette Children’s Group has bought the UK rights to Slay by US debut author Brittney Morris, who was inspired to write after watching the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther".
Slay is about a teenage game developer called Kiera, who codes her own Nubian online role-playing card game, but then has to battle a troll who wants to ruin the game and the safe community it represents for black gamers. When a teen is murdered over a dispute in the game, the mainstream media labels the game as racist and exlusionist and Kiera must save the game whilst keeping her identity a secret.
Commissioning editor Polly Lyall Grant acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Jenny Meyer at Jenny Meyer Literary Agency, who was acting on behalf of Quressa Robinson at Nelson Literary Agency, in a two-book deal.
“Slay is a totally unique triumph of a novel. At times, I forgot I was reading, instead it was as if I was wearing a virtual reality headset, feeling the buzz of playing alongside the characters in the story,” said Lyall Grant. “I can’t wait for readers to get to know Kiera, the talented female coder, and Queen Emerald, Kiera’s online persona, who fiercely leads an entire community through duels and battles with cards based on moments in black history.”
HCG will publish the novel on the Hodder imprint in paperback in October.