Penguin Random House UK imprint #MerkyBooks has acquired Not Without a Fight: Ten Steps to Becoming Your Own Champion, the debut non-fiction book by professional boxer, model and activist Ramla Ali.
Lemara Lindsay-Prince, commissioning editor, acquired world rights in print, serial, digital and audio from Kerry Glencorse at Susanna Lea Associates. Not Without a Fight will be published in hardback, e-book and audio in September 2021.
Somali-born Ali’s family fled to England during Somalia’s years of tense conflict and war. In London she found the sport of boxing to be her strength and solace, initially taking up the sport as a result of being severely overweight and bullied at school, turning it into her "superpower", says the publisher.
Ali then rose to prominence as winner of the national amateur championships in England twice, and the Great British Championships. She is the first first boxer in history to have won an international gold medal while representing the country of Somalia and was instrumental in setting up the Somalia Boxing Federation.
In Not Without a Fight, Ali will share 10 key "fights" she has endured, both inside of the ring and out of it, which have impacted her life and career to date. Each chapter will explore the valuable lessons she gained from them and the key moment which empowered her to fight on. Every fight aims to encourage readers to reflect on their own lives, and guide them to chart a path of success and ultimately become their own champion.
Lindsay-Prince said: "Rightly honoured as a Force for Change by the Duchess of Sussex, Ramla Ali is also a force for hard work, determination, community and so much more. As a dedicated fighter and humanitarian, Ramla is a true role model, using her voice and platform to advocate for many. Her first book is an honest, relatable and powerful account of the lessons which have guided her, and empowered her to fight on. It’s an inspirational narrative, from a confident voice inspiring people to believe in themselves. I can’t wait for the world to read Ramla’s story and be motivated by it."
Ali commented: "I was approached by a number of different book publishers over the last year to write an autobiography, but I felt this was too premature, considering I’m at the beginning of my career or in the middle, depending on how you look at it. I always thought of straight biographies as a final chapter of your life as well. Although saying this, I knew did want to write something which allowed me to utilise the challenges I’ve faced, both in sport and life, as tools to inspire other young Black girls to not just take up sport and be more health-conscious, but to create something that can be used to motivate others in all aspects of life, from pursuing higher education to reaching career goals that seem unattainable because of how you look or your background. When #MerkyBooks came along, it seemed like the perfect fit: they were less concerned about conforming to a specific format and more eager to ensure that young Black voices were being heard, which is a real testament to their approach in literature and everything they are trying to achieve as a publishing imprint.
"The book isn’t a guide to the perfect life or a manual to success, because I believe everyone’s measurement of this is different. I’ve made mistakes and still have so many goals yet to reach, but I’ve learnt a lot along the way and wanted to share those experiences. Most importantly, the sense of a ruthless refusal to quit, which is what and who I am. I hope young women take from reading Not Without a Fight a burning desire within themselves to be inspired and to strive for everything they want. To be merciless in your own pursuits and what you believe will bring you happiness and fulfilment in life."