Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: the 21-year-old British student with a million-dollar book deal

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, from London, was 19 and studying English, Chinese and anthropology in Aberdeen when she began writing what would become Ace of Spades. The young adult novel, which follows two black students trying to find out who is spreading damaging rumours about them at their elite private school, was snapped up this week, along with a second novel, by Macmillan in the US for a seven-figure sum. It will be published next June.

“I was in my first year at university and I didn’t have many friends because I don’t drink as I’m Muslim, so I’d be in my room trying to figure out what to do. I was watching a lot of TV shows and I binged Gossip Girl in a few days,” said Àbíké-Íyímídé, who is currently waiting for her term to start – remotely. “I loved it so much but I was really sad that there weren’t many people who looked like me in it. I thought it’d be so cool if the shows I grew up with, like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, had more black people in them, so I started planning a story. I’d usually do uni during the day, then come home and write until 4am.” More here.

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