Riverhead Books has acquired two new books from A Long Way Gone author Ishmael Beah, best known for his harrowing memoir about his time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone, EW announces exclusively.
The first of these highly-anticipated new works is a novel called The Lively Skeletons of Every Season, which follows a group of people living together in an abandoned airplane in an unnamed African country. The second memoir chronicles Beah’s transition to life in America, a country that has its own complicated issues with things like race, violence, and gender relations.
“I write about ideas and situations that I feel need to be heard and preserved,” Beah tells EW. “I want to open a small window into the lives of the other and by doing so allow my readers to understanding their own humanity, to tap into a way of thinking unfamiliar to them. And each time I embark on a new project, I write as if it is the first and last thing that I will ever write. Perhaps the words of Albert Camus will express what I envision as a writer which is that my ‘role isn’t to represent those who make history but rather those who suffer history.’ I am absolutely thrilled to be with Riverhead Books and about the stories we will put into the world together beyond the two books.”
Beah also explains what inspired him to write The Lively Skeletons of Every Season: “It arises from observing the lives of young people on the African Continent, the new generation, and their struggle to define themselves in today’s world with or without access to the foundations of their history and culture. It’s an exploration of how the identities of young people on the African continent are formed today with the backdrop of their history and traditions. I want to show their desires, dreams, their daily existence and their place in the world from their point of view.”
Rebecca Saletan, Vice President and Editorial Director of Riverhead Books, will edit both The Lively Skeletons of Every Season and Beah’s forthcoming memoir.