Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel, Stay With Me, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. This startling and heartbreaking tale is set in Nigeria in the 1980s. With the political turbulence of this era in the backdrop, we meet Yejide who is desperate for her marriage to Akin to be blessed with a child. As is typical in Nigerian society, Akin’s family begin to grumble and urge him to take a second wife.
First published by independent Edinburgh-based publisher Canongate Books, Ouida Books obtained the rights for publication in Nigeria in 2016. Naturally, the team at Ouida Books is delighted that this story which they fell in love with at first read is making ripples in the literary world.
Several authors have said amazing things about Stay With Me. Ugandan author Jennifer Makunbi has described Adebayo as ‘an astounding storyteller’. Caine Prize winner Rotimi Babatunde described it as ‘the rarest of accomplishments – a richly imagined novel that boasts not only great literary sophistication but also a narrative drive so compelling …’.
We all got a lump in our throat when THE Margaret Atwood wrote on Twitter, ‘Vastly enjoyed the ARC! Don’t miss Stay With Me: scorching, gripping, ultimately lovely.’
Ayobami is the third Nigerian author to be nominated for the Bailey’s Prize. Chimamanda Adichie won in 2007 with Half of a Yellow Sun and Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives was on the 2011 longlist.
The Nigerian edition of Stay With Me will be available on 17 April. You can pre-order your copy here. We have no doubt that you will fall in love with this enchanting novel.