January 31st, 2017

South African literary sensation Kopano Matlwa to be published by Sceptre and Bompiani

At the Pontas Agency, we're delighted to welcome Kopano Matlwa and to announce two great deals for her third novel, Evening Primrose, originally published in South Africa by Jacana Media in November 2016 with the title Period Pain to great acclaim.

Francine Toon, Editor at Sceptre (Hodder & Stoughton) has acquired World English rights excluding South Africa to Evening Primrose for publication in July 2017. In compelling, heart-wrenching prose, Evening Primrose explores the issues of race, poverty and gender, drawing on the author’s unique insight into post-apartheid South Africa’s healthcare. Beatrice Masini at Bompiani has also snapped Italian rights.

kopano_portrait_21-iconsTold in the first person, Evening Primrose is the story of Masechaba, a young woman who achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, yet soon faces the stark reality of working in an under-resourced state hospital. As Masechaba leaves her deeply religious mother she tries to come to terms with the death of her brother and the suffering she witnesses every day as a medical professional.

Kopano Matlwa was named as one of South Africa’s game changers in a recent project, 21 Icons, celebrating young South African talent, inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, you can watch the interview here. In 2007, at only 21, she won the European Union Literary Award for her bestselling debut novel Coconut and was joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2010. Kopano Matlwa is also winner of Aspen Ideas Award for medical innovation and is currently reading for a DPhil in Population Health at the University of Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar.

Francine Toon at Sceptre says: «I am thrilled to be publishing such an important, timely novel that I couldn’t tear myself away from. In Evening Primrose Kopano Matlwa deftly tackles themes of xenophobia, poverty and gender, with an urgency, elegance and wit that enthralled me. Drawing on her experience as a doctor, Matlwa explores the limits of human endurance and ultimately shows us that one can find hope in the most adverse circumstances.»

Beatrice Masini at Bompiani says: «I was charmed by the talent this young author shows in balancing drama and difficulties, big issues and everyday life with a honest, heartwarming, original voice.»

«In my view Matlwa is South Africa’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.», said South African author Rosie Rowell in The Bookseller.

Read the news of these deals on The Bookseller here.

For further information, contact Leticia Vila-Sanjuán.