January 27th, 2022

Musih Tedji Xaviere’s "These Letters End in Tears" to be published in early 2024

At the Pontas Agency, we are incredibly excited to announce that, just over a week after being out on submission, Musih Tedji Xaviere’s debut novel These Letters End in Tears was pre-empted by Megha Majumdar at Catapult for English rights for North America including audio. English rights for the UK & Commonwealth excluding Canada were sold to Jacaranda Books. Publication is slated for early 2024.

Megha Majumdar said: “This is the kind of book that readers will want to discuss with one another, that they'll want to press into the hands of their friends. What a truly special book, so unforgettable and wrenching.”

With These Letters End in Tears, a novel about undying love and about the complexities and dangers of being queer in Cameroon, Musih Tedji Xaviere was one of the joint winners of the first Pontas & JJ Bola Emerging Writers Prize 2021. All other rights, including film & TV, are available and handled by the Pontas Agency.







Set in a country where being gay is punishable by law, These Letters End in Tears is the heart-wrenching forbidden love story of a Christian girl with a rebellious heart and a Muslim girl leading a double life.

Bessem notices Fatima for the first time on the soccer field—muscular and focused, she’s the only woman playing and seems completely at ease. When Fatima chases a rogue ball in her direction, Bessem freezes, mesmerized by the athlete’s charm and beauty. One playful wink from Fatima, and Bessem knows her life will never be the same.

In Cameroon, a country where same-sex relationships are punishable by law, the odds are stacked against Bessem and Fatima from the start. And when Fatima’s older brother, a staunch Muslim, finds out about their affair, he intervenes by physically assaulting them, an incident that precedes a police raid at the only gay bar in town. After spending days in jail, Fatima goes missing without a trace, and Bessem is left with only rumors of her whereabouts. Has Fatima been sentenced to an unknown prison? Has she been banished from her community, or married off, as the rumors suggest? Or something even more sinister?

Thirteen years later, Bessem is now a university professor leading a relatively quiet life, occasionally and secretly dating other women. However, she has never forgotten Fatima. After spotting a mutual friend for the first time in years—the last person who may have seen Fatima—Bessem embarks on a winding search for her lost love.

Xaviere at a Moth Mainstage in Nairobi on November 12, 2019.


Musih Tedji Xaviere, born August 1989, is a Cameroonian-based writer, activist, and Moth Storyteller. She is an alumna of the Goethe-Institut, the Moth, and the African Women Development Fund writing programs. With her debut novel, These Letters End in Tears, she won the 2021 Pontas and JJ Bola Emerging Writer’s Prize, and her short story, Clever Girl, has appeared in Odd Magazine. She has been mentored by authors Yewande Omotoso, William Moore and JJ Bola.


For more information, please contact Anna Soler-Pont (anna@pontas-agency.com).