“Bisi Adjapon writes with incredible vividness and clarity. Her similes and attention to all of the senses are really extraordinary.”
-- Dave Eggers,Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
In this stunning debut novel—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening—a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.
March 31 Master Class NYU
February 17, Humanities Chat, Marjmarj TV
February 12, 6 pm CAT; 4 pm GMT, Virtually Yours, Goethe Institute Namibia
"Heart-rending but comic episodes so characteristic of early childhood."
— New York Times
"The narrator’s voice is fresh and observant, and in the opening chapter age-appropriately and amusingly naïve."
— New York Journal of Books
"The narrator of Bisi Adjapon's debut novel is a Nigerian Ghanaian named Esi, who from age 9 onward will experience personal traumas amid national violence... Esi remains not just strong but also very funny as she comes to terms with societal hypocrisy and double standards."
— Washington Post
"A spunky Nigerian-Ghanaian teenager comes of age in this endearing, relatable debut novel that also portrays the stakes for feminist awakening in 1960s postcolonial Ghana."
— Boston Globe
"The sheer life force with which Esi leaps off the page makes us excited for what else this new voice in historical fiction has in store."
— Globe and Mail
"Adjapon’s elegant narrative and terse dialogue draw us in; the pages are filled with sensual imagery of rusty-roofed villages, church steeples poking out from the greenery, mouth-watering crispy fish, and hot yams wrapped in big leaves. The political climate is vividly drawn, too, as is the underlying tension of a place where violence can easily erupt. Esi is strong, humorous, and self-reflective, yet she berates herself often. At her lowest point, she finds clarity..."
— Washington Independent Review of Books
“Sharp, observant, and often bitingly funny, Adjapon’s novel captures a country divided by class, ethnicity, and political loyalty and a character who might have a chance to soar on the winds of social change. This is a winner.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review) --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
"Breathtaking...Esi ultimately takes control of her body, her mind, and her whole being in ways that will merit a fist pump among feminists everywhere."
— Booklist (starred review)
“Melding blistering humor with razor-sharp insight, The Teller of Secrets heralds a marvel of a writer, one capable of deftly balancing questions of sexuality, politics, and feminism in a novel that is a pure joy to read. This book is impossible to put down. What an exciting, masterful novel by an uncommonly gifted writer.”
— Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize
“Bisi Adjapon has written a deeply compelling, humorous coming-of-age story. Esi Agyekum is brave, perceptive, and precocious; traits she needs to survive the oftentimes perilous journey that most African girls must take on their way to full womanhood. It is a testament to Adjapon’s skill as a writer that the story is told with such vulnerability and sensitivity. An utterly captivating and entertaining read!”
— Ama Ata Aidoo, author of Our Sister Killjoy and Changes, Winner of the Commonwealth Prize Award for Best Book
"Adjapon is a masterful storyteller who has created the best friend I wish I had when I was growing up. In Esi, she gives readers a hero who will 'ignite their fires.' This is a feminist manifesto in the form of a novel. Watch Esi as she navigates secrets and sexism, and thank Adjapon for her skill at unpacking patriarchal hypocrisy with clear-eyed gusto"
— Mona Eltahawy, author of The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls
“Bisi Adjapon’s The Teller of Secrets unfolds with grace, and a quiet spellbinding beauty to reveal the fascinating journey of Esi to self-discovery through family drama, betrayal and passion. A poignant, witty and delightful read delivered by a storyteller of note."
— Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, author of Season of Crimson Blossoms, Winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature
Everyone loves a good story, and Bisi Adjapon tells a fabulous one in her American debut novel, The Teller of Secrets (HarperVia, Nov.). But the story of how her writing life unfolded is almost as fabulous.
When you were younger, how did you handle your family’s secrets? Did you share them with others or keep them to yourself? Did you revel in acknowledging how much privilege you had with this information or did you hold them over the ones you loved?
The first time I saw God, I was eight years old. I had seen him plastered on posters hanging on the walls, but not inches from my face so I could trace his straight nose and mustache. My breath cut off.
In December 2015, Ebony Reigns burst onto the music scene with her hit single, “Dancefloor,” and shattered what remained of female coyness in many West Africans.
When my son was in pre-school at a Christian academy in Virginia, Child Evangelism Fellowship arrived to deliver the gospel to the three and four-year-olds. The presentation was illustrated by three color-coded hearts: the black heart, the red heart and the white heart....