Ato hasn’t visited his grandmother’s house since he was seven. He’s heard the rumors that she’s a witch, and his mother has told him he must never sit on the old couch on her porch. Now here he is, on that exact couch, with a strange-looking drink his grandmother has given him, wondering if the rumors are true. What’s more, there’s a freshly dug hole in her yard that Ato suspects may be a grave meant for him.
Meanwhile at school, Ato and his friends have entered a competition to win entry to Nnoma, the island bird sanctuary that Ato’s father helped created. But something is poisoning the community garden where their project is housed, and Ato sets out to track down the culprit. In doing so, he brings his estranged mother and grandmother back together, and begins healing the wounds left on the family by his father’s death years before.
And that hole in the yard? It is a grave, but not for the purpose Ato feared, and its use brings a tender, celebratory ending to this deeply felt and universal story of healing and love from one of Ghana’s most admired children’s book authors.
Accord Literary is a partnership formed by Sarah Odedina and Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum in 2019 to mentor, develop and encourage writers based in Africa writing books for young readers. Our mission is to find original and unique voices and get their books into the hands of readers around the world.
Accord Literary as a venture is the first of its kind - a collaboration between two of the industry's most respected professionals who will focus on developing talent based in Africa. Between them, Deborah and Sarah have a wealth of experience in children’s publishing and a wide network of contacts with whom they will work to ensure that a greater range of stories that reflect African experiences are enjoyed by children from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Tokyo to Lagos.
More about the team:
Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum
Growing up in Accra, Ghana, as a young girl who read voraciously, Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum often wondered why the storybook characters she loved did not look like her. Starting as a teenager, she has built and led several organizations all of whose goals have been to give children across Africa culturally-relevant books to fall in love with. Her publishing house, African Bureau Stories, is committed to providing increased opportunities for African writers and illustrators to publish locally and internationally. Deborah also established the Golden Baobab Prize, the prestigious literary award which over the past ten years has discovered and supported children's book authors and illustrators across Africa. Deborah has championed and advocated for the African children’s literature industry from grassroots levels to large global stages such as the World Economic Forum. She is an award-winning entrepreneur and her work has been celebrated by international organizations such as Echoing Green, the Aspen Institute and the Grinnell Prize for Social Justice. She is a recipient of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award given by His Highness the Aga Khan and the government of Canada recognizing her efforts to promote African children's literature as a way to build a more inclusive world. Deborah is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and lives in Accra with her husband and little boy.
While at University Sarah met her husband the Nigerian artist, Abe Odedina. They have two daughters and when their children were small they struggled to find books and stories that they felt offered their London based family a realistic and positive portrayal of the African continent. Now 30 years later the need for a wider range of voices remains. Sarah sees her work as a publisher and as a Director of Accord as an opportunity to bring African writers telling their stories of life on the continent to readers worldwide. Sarah Odedina has worked in publishing for more than two decades. As the Publishing Director of the children’s list of Bloomsbury Publishing, she oversaw the publication of the Harry Potter series as well as published many other best-selling prize-winning novels and picture books. In 2011 Sarah founded the successful and award-winning Hot Key Books. Sarah is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press commissioning titles for the children's and YA list. She is the co-founder of Scoop Magazine for children. Sarah travels around the world giving talks and hosting workshops about publishing and children’s literature. She also teaches creative writing focusing on books for young readers.
Ruby Yayra Goka
Writes issue-centred books for teenagers
Akua Serwaa Amankwah
Writes character-driven middle grade fiction
P Ochieng Ochieng
Writes voice-driven literary fiction for young teens
Writes science fiction and fantasy infused with African culture and mythology
Writes speculative fiction
Writes family-focused middle grade adventures
Writes fantasy inspired by Yoruba mythology
Writes across genres but loves magical realism
Open for submissions
We are open for submissions for novels written for young readers aged between 8 and 16 years old. Submissions must include the following:
The deadline for submissions is 15th April 2022.
How we work
Accord Literary will offer advice and guidance on editorial issues with the view of mentoring authors to create works ready for submission to international publishers. Please be patient as we have many many emails to read through and many many submissions to consider. If we have read your work and are not going to offer you mentoring you will get a standard response and your email and attachments will be deleted from our system. If we read your work and are interested to read more of your work we shall email you and ask you to send in your complete manuscript. When we have read the entire submission we shall discuss your work with you in a bit more detail via email. Accord Literary will enter agreements with authors with whom they work with all terms and conditions of representation to be agreed. The works submitted have to be original works of fiction and not to infringe any copyright. The works are to be free for world wide publication.
We work tirelessly to promote our authors’ work with leading publishers all over the world. We are regular participants of the Bologna Book Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair and the Ghana Book Fair.
For enquiries about UK and Commonwealth Rights, please contact Julia Churchill of A.M Heath at: Julia.Churchill@amheath.com
For translation rights, please contact Margot Edwards at: email@example.com
For USA rights please contact Accord at: firstname.lastname@example.org