A 21-year-old Nigerian Aberdeen university student has agreed a seven figure book deal with a US based publisher, Macmillan to publish a pair of novels including her debut which tackles institutionalized racism.
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group announced Thursday that it would publish Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s highly anticipated debut, the thriller “Ace of Spades,” in June 2021 followed by a second untitled novel.
Ace of Spades follows two black students trying to find out who is spreading damaging rumours about them at their elite private school, the novel is a thriller that explores the fallout when gossip about the pair leaves them fighting for their reputations and eventually their lives.
“I was in my first year at university and I didn’t have many friends because I don’t drink as I’m Muslim, so I’d be in my room trying to figure out what to do. I was watching a lot of TV shows and I binged Gossip Girl in a few days,” said Àbíké-Íyímídé, who lives in South London.
Àbíké-Íyímídé alongside her UK agent and Usborne Children’s Book have worked together since 2018 before sending out submission to the US, where Macmillan signed up to it.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to share this story and have others see themselves for the first time in these characters,” Àbíké-Íyímídé said in reaction to the deal.
“Macmillan put their money where their mouth is. Often in publishing, a lot of black authors don’t get the support so it was just so lovely to see them not lowball me. They wanted to show they were invested and I really appreciated that. I was just a broke student writing to make myself some fictional friends. I’d always wanted to be a writer and I thought university was the best time to try new things because after that you have to get a proper job.”
For the author, the novel embodies “themes that I am very passionate about, such as homophobia in the black community, institutional racism and the diversity of thought among black people”.