Oneworld acquires Amuah's 'big-hearted and wise' debut

Oneworld acquires Amuah's 'big-hearted and wise' debut

Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey has snapped up rights to Diary of a Magpie, the “incredibly moving” debut novel from Marie-Claire Amuah.

UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, were acquired in a two-book deal from Juliet Mushens at Mushens Entertainment, and Oneworld will publish the debut as a super-lead hardback in autumn 2022. Ellis Moore at Bolinda pre-empted audio rights.

Diary of a Magpie will tell the story of Stella, a child of Ghanaian parents, born and raised in south-west London. The synopsis reads: "Stella is born into the chaos of domestic violence and struggles to make sense of the world around her. She touches wood so that bad things won’t happen to her or her family—until she learns a poem about Magpies, ‘one for sorrow…’.

"Stella excels academically and achieves professional fulfilment and success once she leaves home. However, she is unable to make evidence-based conclusions about events that unfold around her. Stella continues to rely on superstition to provide meaning to her life; to control the otherwise uncontrollable. She feels her greatest personal happiness when she falls in love, but learns that magpies alone can’t protect her from heartbreak, and that the impact of her childhood is something she will have to face, one way or another."

Mabey commented: "Diary of a Magpie is a brilliant, big-hearted and incredibly wise novel exploring the searing pain of childhood abuse and the insidious way it burrows under the skin and lingers into adulthood. Stella is so richly realised, and the other characters so perfectly complex and believable, it allows Marie-Claire to interrogate painful issues with an incredibly deft touch. Set against the backdrop of both Ghana and London, and with a voice that sings off the page, this is a wonderfully immersive novel for readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Helen Oyeyemi. I absolutely loved it."

Amuah, a British-Ghanaian barrister, said: "I am absolutely over the moon that Diary of a Magpie is going to be published by Oneworld; it is an honour to join their fiction list and I could not imagine a more perfect home for my novel. It is a joy to work with both Juliet Mabey and Juliet Mushens, whose combined perception, passion and vision for this novel makes for the most wonderful publication journey."