The North London-based British Nigerian writer and editor Ore Agbaje-Williams’ debut novel The Three of Us has been acquired by Jonathan Cape (U.K.), Putnam (U.S.), and Penguin Random House Canada.
According to Publishers Weekly, The Three of Us, a “part suburban millennial comedy of manners, part domestic noir,” features a British Nigerian man, his wife, and his wife’s best friend whose lives are changed forever in a day after they make a “startling discovery.” Publishers Weekly cites Putnam’s comments that the book investigates “questions about cultural expectations, the fine line between compromise and betrayal, and the nature of truth.”
The book, The Bookseller reveals, shares similar nuances with Michaela Coel’s TV series I May Destroy You, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel My Sister, the Serial Killer, and Naoise Dolan’s debut novel Exciting Times. The sale of the book, agented by Nicola Chang at David Higham Associates, came after a six-publisher auction.
Agbaje-Williams’ “writing is whip-smart, razor-sharp, stylish, and laced with an addictive dark humour,” Cape editorial director Željka Marošević said. “The Three of Us is tapping into such a universal theme—haven’t we all, at some point, hated our best friend’s partner?—that I couldn’t believe no one had explored it in fiction before.”
Ore Agbaje-Williams is Commissioning Editor at The Borough Press, the literary imprint of HarperFiction, part of HarperCollins UK. She was named one of The Bookseller’s “Rising Stars of 2020.” In July, she acquired UK & Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) for Nigerian writer Adorah Nworah’s debut novel House Woman. She and Nancy Adimora, founder of AFREADA and talent and audience development manager for HarperCollins’ diversity and inclusion initiative, were co-editors of the non-fiction anthology, Of This Our Country: Acclaimed Nigerian Writers on the Home, Identity and Culture They Know. She has written for gal-dem, Glamour UK, Wasafiri and, under the pseudonym Anike Idowu, Reflex Fiction.
“I’m very, very excited for the world to meet the wife, the husband and, of course, Temi,” Ore Agbaje-Williams said.
The Three of Us is set for release in 2023.