The Bookseller – Rights – Trapeze Books snares Okafor’s debut story collection and novel

Trapeze has acquired the short story collection Edge of Here and an untitled novel from writer, actor and social commentator Kelechi Okafor.

Editorial director Sareeta Domingo negotiated the deal for UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada, in a direct approach to Sallyanne Sweeney at MMB Creative.

Edge of Here will publish in hardback as one of Trapeze’s lead titles in September 2023, with Okafor’s novel due to publish in autumn 2024.

The publisher describes Edge of Here as a collection of stories that explore contemporary womanhood, with a storytelling sensibility that cleverly combines the modern-day with speculative concepts both ancient and futuristic.

It continues: “From a Black nurse dealing with a white woman whose voluntarily installed ‘Ally-Chip’ (which allows her to feel the emotions of a chosen donor) is malfunctioning, to the Yoruba-influenced tale of a renowned mental health expert who holds a mysterious secret, to a woman who uses a VR-like headset to explore an alternate love-life with the man she bumps into at her son’s school gates, these are stories both unique and timely in terms of their explorations of our society— past, present and future.”

Domingo said: “Kelechi’s talents seem to know no bounds, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be facilitating her move into writing fiction in this way.

“Her imagination and skill as a writer will come as no surprise to those who have followed her journey for years, and her multitude of fans will absolutely not be disappointed by the stories in Edge of Here, and her forthcoming novel.

“The minute I started reading I was blown away, and the quality of Kelechi’s fiction will be guaranteed to garner her a whole new audience as well. Her writing has a thrilling, society-skewering feel that is hugely relatable, thought-provoking and accessible. She is truly one of the most exciting contemporary voices in Britain, and is the absolute embodiment of the aims for Trapeze—she dictates the conversation, and I have every faith she will continue to do so as an author.”

Okafor, who hosts the podcast “Say Your Mind” and whose writing was included in the collection It’s Not OK To Feel Blue (Penguin) edited by Scarlett Curtis, said: “I am truly thrilled to be collaborating in such a creative way with Sareeta.

“I am deeply appreciative of Sareeta’s encouragement in showing the various facets of my creativity in a way that I hold extremely dear. Edge of Here is the book I have been waiting for and that is why I have written it. Each short story at first glance, appears to be a world that we recognize but I am excited to show the readers the edge of that. The fleeting otherworldliness of our everyday lives. I believe that the use of our imagination is revolutionary.”

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