Two-book Usborne deal for YA debut author

Rights - Children Thursday, 01 November 2018

Twenty year-old Àbíké-Íyímídé 'has a glittering future ahead of her'; first novel tackles institutional racism

Commissioning editor at Usborne, Becky Walker, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Àbíké-Íyímídé’s debut novel, Ace of Spades, and a second novel, from Hannah Sheppard at DHH Literary Agency.

Walker said: "Faridah is a truly remarkable new talent, and, with Ace of Spades, has announced her arrival on the UKYA scene. At once peeling back the layers that can mask the magnitude of systemic racism, while simultaneously weaving a nail-bitingly-plotted story that keeps you guessing from beginning to end, Faridah is nothing short of searingly exceptional. We know that Faridah has a glittering future ahead of her, and we couldn’t be more proud to be her publisher."

According to the acquisition statement: 'Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Or were perfect. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is spreading secrets about two students – rivals Devon and Chiamaka. Secrets that no one should have known. But as Devon and Chiamaka investigate, what appeared to be a high-school prank is revealed as something much more sinister. Suddenly they find themselves at the centre of a disturbing and deadly game. But how can you play the game when the cards are stacked against you?'

Àbíké-Íyímídé describes the novel as "embodying themes that I am very passionate about, such as homophobia in the black community, institutional racism and the diversity of thought amongst black people. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share this story and have others see themselves for the first time in these characters."

Sheppard said: "I woke up on a Saturday morning to Faridah's Ace of Spades submission and had called in the full by 9am. Her concept excited me but her skill with voice and sharp, witty writing kept me hooked. I couldn't have been more excited when she accepted my offer of representation and I'm delighted we've found such a passionate home for her at Usborne… I anticipate big things!"

"I am so excited to be working with Usborne on my story Ace of Spades! So many of my favourite books have been published by Usborne and so working with Becky is truly a dream come true," said Àbíké-Íyímídé.

Àbíké-Íyímídé is a writer from London, currently studying English and Chinese in the north-east of Scotland. The book is to be published in the summer of 2020.

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