Canongate acquires World excluding Nigeria rights in debut Nigerian medical memoir Small by Small by Dr Ike Anya

Canongate has acquired Small by Small by Dr Ike Anya, a deeply personal memoir that provides a window onto ordinary Nigerian lives at a time of political turmoil. The deal was negotiated between Ellah Wakatama at Canongate and Jessica Bullock at the Wylie Agency. Small by Small was originally published by Sandstone Press and Canongate will publish in paperback and ebook on the 1st of August this year.

It’s the 1990s, a turbulent time in Nigeria’s political history, and a young Ike Anya embarks on the journey to qualifying as a medical doctor. In a story that charts the triumphs and failures of his student days through to his first demanding year as a house officer, Anya’s sharp wit, gentle humour and abounding curiosity present a medical memoir unlike any from the West. Recalling the vibrancy of tempestuous 1990s Nigeria – the political unrest, social change and worsening economy – Anya also celebrates the friendships, minor rebellions and hard graft of student days.

Small by Small is a deeply intimate memoir imbued with determination, compassion and a love of storytelling. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called it a ‘miracle of a book’ and Claudia Hammond ‘an eye-opening tale of the trials of training to be a doctor’.

Dr Ike Anya said: ‘I’m delighted that Canongate Books, whose ethos, values and output I’ve long admired, are bringing out Small by Small in paperback and ebook. And working with Ellah, who discovered and published my essay in Granta in 2012, launching my writing career, seems fitting and like coming full circle.’

Ellah Wakatama said: ‘I loved the humanity and humour of Dr Anya’s writing from the very first. He writes with a rare combination of humility and a charming conviction, from the start, that his vocation is worth each and every difficult step along the way. I am delighted we are bringing his paperback to Canongate and look forward to introducing Small by Small to the wider readership this gem of a book deserves.’

Dr Ike Anya is an author and experienced consultant in public health medicine working in Nigeria and the UK. He is a 2007 TED Global Fellow, co-founder of Nigeria Health Watch, EpiAfric and TEDxEuston and former deputy director of public health for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Dr Anya has taught at Imperial College, Bristol University and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has been a contributor to the BBC World Service programmes and podcasts Health Check and Unexpected Elements. Dr Anya also holds an MA in Creative Non-Fiction from UEA and is a co-founder of Abuja Literary Society, an advisory council member of the Caine Prize and co-editor of Weaverbird, a collection of new Nigerian writing. His non-fiction piece ‘People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria’ appears in Granta and he is a contributor to Of This Our Country, an anthology of acclaimed Nigerian writers on their home, identity and culture.