Yaba Badoe is an award-winning Ghanaian-British documentary filmmaker and writer. In 2014 Yaba was nominated for the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema award.
At once steeped in richly-conjured West African myths and landscapes, and a page-turning thriller with real-life resonance (courtesy of its unforgettable protagonist), Yaba Badoe’s Lionheart Girl is a wonder of YA fiction. This is magic realism at its most powerful, exploring as it does universal themes of family bonds, fleeing and finding your way, through language that’s brilliantly enmeshed with its setting and subjects: “my heart, big as a lake in the wet season, shrivels to a slick of water in the dry.” Sheba was born into a family of witches, to a line of powerful women who can shapeshift, whose touch can uncover people’s deepest desires and fears. The story begins with Sheba fleeing her village to find her father, spurred by “the fizz in my fingers whenever I touched Ma’s hair”. In time, Sheba’s overbearing mother reveals, “We royal women are special. Our blood is enriched by generations of ritual and magic. Magic flows through us”. And so Sheba unknots her own powers, and secrets of her past, in a tale that rails against convention while feeling utterly timeless.
African myth and magic beat in the dark heart of this fable about witchcraft, superstition, the bonds we choose and those we cannot. Born into a family of West African witches, Sheba's terrified of her mother who can turn into a crow. But like mother, like daughter - magic runs through her blood and Sheba discovers powers of her own. Her touch can unravel people's innermost thoughts; their hopes, their fears - their secrets. Sheba too can shape-shift. Through the communion of ancient magic, blood and friendship, she slowly uncovers the murderous truth about her stolen childhood and steels herself for the future. She must protect the hunted from the hunter - her mother.
'She weaves ancient storytelling magic into words of exceptional beauty ... Everyone should read Badoe' Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs. A leopard dances under the moon. A wolf prowls. A red-beaked bird flies free. Three girls born on the same day in wolf light are bound together to protect the world. They can dazzle or destroy. They have wind-song and fire-fury at their fingertips, but their enemies are everywhere. From the bleak steppes to the tropical forests of Ghana and the stormy moors of Cornwall, the lands they love are plundered and poisoned. The girls must rally to perfect their skills and prove the strength of sister-magic. Steeped in elemental myth, Wolf Light is a call to us all to hear the ancient power within us and conserve our heritage. Yaba's YA debut novel A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars was shortlisted for the 2018 Branford Boase Award and nominated for the 2018 Carnegie Medal. 'Elemental myth and magic are the beating heart of Wolf Light ... Fans of magical realism and powerful women will find much to admire' Observer.
The Secret of the Purple Lake is a collection of five interlinked stories that take us from Ghana to Orkney, and from Spain to Norway and Thailand. As a minor character from one story assumes a major role in the next, we meet a fascinating cast, including Imoro the magic elephant, the Walrus Prince, and the Wild Princesses of Rousay. The protagonist of the opening tale, The Fisherman's Daughter, has to retrieve her dead father's bones from the bottom of the sea, in order to bring harmony back to her seaside village. In fulfilling her task, she must evade the clutches of The Fish-man of the Purple Lake. The Fish-man, a monstrous creature with the body of a man and the head of a fish, was once a beautiful boy from the Sahel, and has his own story about how he became the Fish-man.
A powerful, haunting, contemporary debut, shortlisted for Branford Boase Award in 2018, that steps seamlessly from the horrors of people-trafficking to the magic of African folklore, by an award-winning Ghanaian-British filmmaker. Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea-chest laden with treasure. It seems she is the sole survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying migrants and refugees. Her people. Fourteen years on she's a member of Mama Rose's unique and dazzling circus. But, from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them: A bamboo flute. A golden bangle. A ripening mango which must not fall . . . . . . are these the missing pieces of the jigsaw which will tell Sante's story?
*Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018. *Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award 2018. A powerful, haunting debut that steps seamlessly from the horrors of people-trafficking to the magic of African folklore. Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea-chest laden with treasure. It seems she is the sole survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying migrants and refugees. Her people. Fourteen years on she's a member of Mama Rose's unique and dazzling circus. But, from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them: A bamboo flute. A golden bangle. A ripening mango which must not fall . . . . . . are these the missing pieces of the jigsaw which will tell Sante's story? Praise for Yaba Badoe: 'An ambitious, impressive and skilful blend of modernity, mystery and myth' SUNDAY TIMES. 'Things don't get much more original than this' BOOKS FOR KEEPS. 'A blend of magical realism and brutality, this is a powerful and original novel' DAILY MAIL.