Walker Books has acquired a non-fiction title from Rudimental band member Leon “Locksmith” Rolle (pictured left) and author Derek Owusu (right).
Senior commissioning editor Daisy Jellicoe acquired world rights from Charlotte Collins at Sports Sphere (representing Rolle) and Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT! (representing Owusu).
About This Boy is billed as an "empowering account" of how overcoming challenges can unlock potential. Using stories from his experiences growing up in Hackney, forming the band Rudimental with his best friends and playing semi-professional football, Rolle wants to take readers on a journey through his boyhood. The challenges he faced taught him that not only was he good enough, but that with self-belief he could achieve things that he once dreamed of, said the publisher.
Rolle was inspired to write this book by his 10-year-old son, Leonyedus, and his desire to pass on the lessons from his life to young people who are looking for the motivation to succeed.
The title will be jointly written with Owusu, author of That Reminds Me (Merky Books, 2019), who shares Rolle’s passion for inspiring the next generation, Walker said.
Jellicoe said: "Leon has an incredible story to tell about navigating the challenges of growing up. He shares his hopes, dreams and mistakes with honesty and humour and shows how readers can use resilience, confidence and self-belief to unlock their potential. I am so excited that he and Derek are going to empower new readers."
Rolle commented: “Growing up can be beautiful, but it can also be lonely, confusing and terrifying. I would have really benefitted from someone who looked and sounded like me sharing their experiences, so I was better equipped for the challenges that I faced. I was always longing for acceptance and, through a lack of self-belief, I got caught up in the wrong crowd. I was struggling to control my emotions and I was looking for guidance.
"My hope is that by writing this book, I will be able to inspire kids like my son and his friends and show them that life isn’t always easy and involves making mistakes, but through confidence and determination they can achieve more that they could ever imagine.”
Owusu added: “Since finding myself within books and writing, one of my main goals has been to empower younger generations, to encourage and uplift them, stand up for them, help them understand that it’s okay to fail, okay not to be ready, okay to find your own pace and learn in your own way. Words I wish I had heard as a younger, but can now give back. Working with Leon on this book is a huge honour. Both our goals align and our shared backgrounds give us a perfectly formed perspective to bring to the page."
About This Boy will be published in September 2021.