Picador has grabbed the “profoundly moving” debut novel on fleeing Uganda by Neema Shah in a two-book deal.
Editor Ansa Khan Khattak acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates. The first novel, Kololo Hill, will be published in spring 2021.
It tells the story of a family who are forced to leave their home in Uganda when Idi Amin gives Ugandan Asians 90 days to leave the country. When deciding where to go the family discover forces outside their control might separate them forever.
Khattak said: “I fell in love with Kololo Hill. There are many ways in which Neema Shah’s debut is extraordinary, and not least of these is the profoundly moving human story that she tells: the family dynamic between the characters in the book is so well drawn that the pain of their separation is palpable. This is also, of course, a novel that tells another, larger story: that of the forced displacement of the Asian population of Uganda. I have never read a book that gives such a clear-eyed and evocative account of what the last days in a place that you call home – but are being forced to leave – must be like.”
Shah is a marketing worker whose parents and grandparents left India to make their homes in east Africa and later in London, where Neema was born. She said: “I'm thrilled to become a Picador author and can't wait to work with the team. I felt utterly at home at Picador and it's clear that they feel as passionately about the novel as I do.”