Almost a year after we announced Ike Anya’s forthcoming memoir Small by Small, we are delighted to share the cover. The bold font set against a rich, Ankara-print inspired background channels the strength of a story about a vibrant, colorful life.
For those who do not know Anya, he is a Nigerian physician and author. He graduated from the College of Medicine at the University of Nigeria in 1995 and currently works as a consultant in public health medicine. This book chronicles his experiences as a doctor in 1990s Nigeria—one of the most surreal and unsettling decades in the life of one of Africa’s most influential nations.
The stunning cover is designed by Rafaela Romaya, art director and book designer with over 20 years of experience. Romaya has designed many iconic covers, including Patience Agbabi’s The Infinite and Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay With Me. In a note sent to us via email, Romaya shares that the cover art of Small by Small captures the vivid textures of Anya’s account:
Small by Small brings to life in vivid technicolour Ike’s journey and ambitions to becoming a doctor in Nigeria, as well as the challenges with wit and insight. For the cover design, we decided to place the silhouette of a junior doctor over a beautiful pattern from his homeland, rather than in a medical setting, to reflect his deep-rooted connection and compassion to all throughout that journey and the warmth of his writing.
The title of the memoir comes from a saying often repeated by Anya’s grandmother: “Everything worthwhile is achieved small by small.” Thus, Ike’s story charts the triumphs and failures of his student days all the way to his first demanding year as a house officer (medical intern).
Anya’s story does not follow the script of many medical memoirs set in Africa, often written by doctors from the west. There is no white savior trope here, no exoticizing of African life, no condescension and self-promotion. As the title suggests, it is simply a deeply personal and powerful account of what it means to come of age professionally in the midst of political unrest and a dire and rapidly changing social and economic landscape.
Small by Small will be published by Sandstone Press on May 18. Preorder here! And watch this space for a book review.