Towards the end of last year, I shared a photo of Ayobami Adebayo's debut novel Stay With Me on Instagram and had this to say:
My last read of 2016 was this heartbreaking story centred on a Nigerian couple - Yejide and Akin - and the depths people go through to have a child, particularly, with pressure from family and society. Beautifully written, I felt Yejide's grief, pain, frustration and eventual numbness. Better yet, there are aspects of relationships (including infidelity) that is not romanticised - but real, honest and human. Honestly, a stunning debut and one that should be read when it's published this year - March in UK, August in the States. Will also be published in Kenya, Nigeria and Sweden this year.
Since then, Stay With Me has had nothing but rave reviews: it was labelled 'a big hearted Nigerian debut' on the Guardian; described as 'affecting and powerful' by Times; and was one of Stylist's pick of the best new books for 2017. And recently, it was shortlisted for the Bailey's Women Prize for Fiction.
|2017 Bailey's Women Prize for Fiction Shortlist|
With that Ayobami joins a select few African women writers that have been shortlisted for the prize (including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2004 for Purple Hibiscus, 2007 for Half of a Yellow Sun in 2007 and 2014 for Americanah, Aminatta Forna in 2011 with The Memory of Love and Esi Edugyan in 2012 with Half-Blood Blues). With Half of a Yellow Sun winning the prize in 2007, in a couple of months (June 7 to be exact) we will find out if Stay With Me will the be the next winner.
While we wait, I wanted to celebrate the wonderful covers of this book, because they truly are stunning. Do you have a favourite?