Weidenfeld & Nicolson has bought Luke Pepera’s history of Africa, the first title, the publisher said, that journeys "beyond the last 400 years of slavery and colonisation and explores the preceding 500,000 years of African archaeology, history and cultures”.
W&N editorial director Maddy Price pre-empted Motherland: 500,000 Years of African History, Cultures and Identity from Robert Kirby at United Agents in an “exclusive submission”. German rights were also pre-empted, by Aufbau-Verlag.
Motherland explores pre-colonial Africa in 10 thematically linked chapters, each beginning with a current-day example—such as the ancestor scenes in “Black Panther”—and then revealing the origins and developments of the cultural behaviours and historical events that influenced it. Pepera also interweaves this with his personal experiences of exploring his Ghanaian heritage.
Pepera (pictured) was born in Ghana and read archaeology and anthropology at Oxford. He has since worked for the Times and Tatler, worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum and developed and presented the documentary, “Africa: Written Out of History”, on the History Hit platform.
Price lauded the historian's dedication and passion for African history and cultures. She added: “[Pepera] is particularly eloquent about the exploration of identity, and I believe his personal journey, which enriches this ambitious history, will appeal to anyone who has ever wished to explore their own heritage.”
Pepera said: “Africa has an extraordinarily profound and varied history, arguably one of the richest histories in the world. Ancient and medieval Africans in particular are responsible for some of the world’s greatest cultural, economic and political achievements. But despite this, their stories are seldom told and are little known today. With Motherland, I hope to change this.”
Motherland is slated for an October 2023 release.