Transworld has won a six-way auction for That Peckham Boy by Kenny Imafidon, a "personal manifesto exploring what it means to be young, Black and poor in the city".
The deal for world rights was made with Kemi Ogunsanwo at The Good Literary Agency. The title will be published on the Bantam Press imprint in March 2023.
Imafidon is the middle child of a single mother and grew up near an estate in Peckham where deprivation and hopelessness were rife, and gang culture flourished in his community. Two days after his 18th birthday, Imafidon was charged with the murder of a 17-year-old boy in south-east London and faced a minimum of 30 years in prison.
When the case against Imafidon collapsed, he quickly realised that his name was still inextricably linked with a horrific crime he hadn’t committed. He decided to rewrite his story. It began with The Kenny Report, which he delivered to the House of Commons and which detailed the experiences of marginalised young people who drift into gangs, and has led to extensive work with charities, communities and policy-makers.
That Peckham Boy is Imafidon's "personal manifesto", shaped by the author's difficult childhood, his transformative time in prison, and the people and conversations that took him from being on trial for murder into the company of some of the most successful people in the world.
Andrea Henry, editorial director at Transworld, commented: "Kenny is an incredibly inspiring young man and we were all blown away by his story at Transworld, and by his voice on the page. Having come through some very challenging times, he has a clear vision of what he now wants to achieve in life, and at the heart of that is growing our understanding of what life is like on the fringes of society. We hope to reach a wide audience with That Peckham Boy, and in doing so contribute to the important conversations about solving the systemic inequalities that are such a barrier to opportunity. It’s exciting to be working with Kenny."
Imafidon said: "I am thrilled to be publishing my first book with Andrea and the team at Transworld. I hope this unfiltered and honest insight into my story inspires hope in many in challenging times, and serves as a reminder that even in our darkest hour, when we feel we have hit rock-bottom, we can always bounce back and turn things around—even if the odds are stacked against us."
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