Bloomsbury and Pantheon will be publishing Professor Wole Soyinka’s newest novel, Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth.
The Bookseller reports that Bloomsbury acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada and Africa, but including South Africa) as well as audio rights from the Melanie Jackson Agency. The novel will be published simultaneously in the US by Pantheon Books. The scheduled publication date is September 28, 2021.
Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth is Soyinka’s third novel and his first in nearly 50 years. His remarkable body of work, which ranges from two earlier published novels, several works of poetry, drama and literary criticisms earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
Paul Baggaley, editor-in-chief of Bloomsbury, said: “When I was told that Wole Soyinka had written a new novel, I was of course excited and intrigued. Once I read it, I was blown away by the vigour, the originality, the wit, the outrage and the compassion. I couldn’t be more proud that Bloomsbury will bring this remarkable and brilliant novel to the widest readership.”
Faiza Khan, consulting publisher at Bloomsbury, added: “It is an immense privilege to publish a writer of such profound and humbling humanity and deep political engagement, whose work tells universal truths about the machinations of power, and brims with an anger and a compassion that looks deep into the darkness and the resilience of human nature.”
Erroll McDonald, vice president and executive editor at Pantheon, who will be editing the US edition, describes Soyinka’s novel as “[u]nsparingly gimlet-eyed,” and “an often-hilarious meditation on the vicissitudes of power and greed as they corrupt the soul of a nation.”