Hodder Studio has pre-empted a "captivating and joyous" debut novel from Buzzfeed editor and writer Tomi Obaro, set in Lagos and following the evolving fates of three best friends.
Editorial director Sara Adams did the deal for UK and Commonwealth rights for Dele Weds Destiny from Claire Conrad at Janklow & Nesbit. North America rights were snapped up by Jordan Pavlin at Knopf from PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit after a 13-way auction.
Hodder Studio will publish Dele Weds Destiny as a "major" launch title in spring 2022.
Dele Weds Destiny celebrates, in the publisher's words, "the power and resilience of female friendship, the highs and lows of mother-daughter relationships, and explores the tough choices women make throughout their lives with depth and poignancy".
Obaro introduces readers to three best friends, Enitan, Funmi and Zainab, in 1980s Lagos. The synopsis reads: "When Enitan heads to New York to elope with a white man, Zainab and Funmi are left behind, though with drastically different fortunes. Zainab finds herself the sole breadwinner for her disabled husband and their four sons, while Funmi, larger-than-life in her youth, lives in a palace of confined luxury as the wife of a shady, successful businessman. But through it all, they remain in each other’s lives. And finally, in 2015, Enitan, Zainab and Funmi are all reunited in Lagos for the first time in 30 years at the lavish wedding of Funmi’s daughter Destiny, where they confront their past.
"Alternating between the three friends’ politically turbulent university years and bustling, present-day Lagos, we witness the shared histories, betrayals, and triumphs play out, and their unforgettable, enduring friendship. As they prepare for the opulent festivities, what none count on, least of all Funmi, is that the bride may be as free-spirited as her mother once was..."
Obaro's agent Conrad called the story "the most vivid and brilliant portrait of female friendship I’ve read since Elena Ferrante" and Adams said that the author has "a sparkling fiction career ahead of her".
"Within moments of meeting Tomi’s characters, I’d completely fallen for them and for Tomi’s prose," said Adams. "Zainab, Funmi and Enitan, and their daughters Destiny and Remi, are unforgettable; Tomi has conjured their lives and their enduring friendship with such skill and poise. I can’t wait for readers to meet them all soon."
Obaro is a Brooklyn-based writer and senior culture editor at BuzzFeed News. She said: "I’m thrilled to be working with Sara and the whole Hodder Studio team!"
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