Last year, Harper Collins acquired two titles by the Ghanaian-Nigerian writer Bisi Adjapon. The first is The Teller of Secrets, Adjapon’s debut which was originally published as Of Women and Frogs by Farafina Books in 2018, about a girl coming of age under patriarchal conditions in her native Ghana. It will be released in the US this year.
The second novel, Daughters in Exile, is also forthcoming later this year. It is about a Ghanaian woman who moves to the US and must adapt to the workings of a society different from what she’s accustomed to.
Here’s a description of The Teller of Secrets:
In this stunning debut novel—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening—a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.
Young Esi Agyekum is the unofficial “secret keeper” of her family, as tight-lipped about her father’s adultery as she is about her half-sisters’ sex lives. But after she is humiliated and punished for her own sexual exploration, Esi begins to question why women’s secrets and men’s secrets bear different consequences. It is the beginning of a journey of discovery that will lead her to unexpected places.
As she navigates her burgeoning womanhood, Esi tries to reconcile her own ideals and dreams with her family’s complicated past and troubled present, as well as society’s many double standards that limit her and other women. Against a fraught political climate, Esi fights to carve out her own identity, and learns to manifest her power in surprising and inspiring ways.
Funny, fresh, and fiercely original, The Teller of Secrets marks the American debut of one of West Africa’s most exciting literary talents.
Sharon Bowers, an agent at the New York-based Folio Literary Management, represents Adjapon. Daughters in Exile was her primary focus but HarperOne’s executive editor Rakesh Satyal opted to acquire both novels in a six-figure deal.
“Bisi’s work is special,” says Satyal in a statement. “I was captivated. She conveys transgressive elements with a wry sense of humor. In coming-of-age novels you don’t often see the character’s intellectual development. With Bisi you see it in tandem with the other ways of growing up. She writes powerfully and beautifully; she unpacks an irreverent sense of misogyny.”