At the Pontas Agency, we're delighted to introduce a new writer: Victoria Princewill. British-born of Nigerian descent and educated at Oxford and University College London, Victoria Princewill has a BA in English and MA in Philosophy, and her work on race and contemporary culture has been published by the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the London Review of Books and n+1 magazine. She co-founded a TEDx series whilst a student.
Victoria Princewill's debut novel In The Palace of Flowers will be published in the first semester of 2019 by Cassava Republic in English worldwide, as their leading title of the year. Translation rights have already been acquired by Vulkan (Serbian). Set in Iran in the 19th century —in the Persian royal court of the Qajars— In The Palace of Flowers is an atmospheric historical debut novel, in the tradition of Jessie Burton, Laila Lalami, Kamila Shamsie and Yaa Gyasi.
Inspired by the only existing first-person account of an Abyssinian slave in Iran, Jamīla Habashī, In The Palace of Flowers vividly recreates the court of the Iranian Shah in the 1890s, a precarious time of growing public dissent, foreign interference from the Russians and British, and the problem of an ageing ruler with an unsuitable heir. It tells the story from the perspective of two Abyssinian slaves: Jamila, a concubine, and Abimelech, an eunuch. It has all the ingredients of the best historical fiction: power struggles, scandal, sex, ambition, secrets and betrayal, and it explores inequality and oppression with insight and subtlety. In this debut, Victoria Princewill shines a light on an area of history about which many readers will know little in a way that feels fresh and grand, yet contemporary.
Cassava Republic Press Sales Director, Emma Shercliff, said: «Victoria Princewill has hit upon a fascinating premise for her novel –the Qajar court–, with all its intrigue and mystery, is a wonderful setting, and to tell the tale from the perspective of the slaves is truly innovative. Victoria gives voice to a group of people hitherto neglected by historians and writers, which adds a fascinating dimension to life in a royal court where often reality was stranger than fiction.»
For further information, please contact Maria Cardona.