Adunni, living in rural Nigeria, has dreams of getting an education, but when her mother dies, her father sells her off as a third wife to get food. Her husband Morufu just wants to hedge his bets on getting new sons for his tax business. Later she’s placed as a maid to Big Madam and Big Daddy, a wealthy and abusive Lagos woman with a flourishing textile business and her lecherous husband. However dire things got in the story, Adunni’s spirit and determination kept me going. She truly is Sweetness, which is what her name means in Yoruba.— Daniel Goldin
March 2020 Indie Next List
“This year is overflowing with phenomenal debuts — including this one from Abi Daré. It tells the story of Adunni, a young girl in Nigeria whose dreams and ambition focus in on one thing: education. In a city where girls like her are looked down upon and considered unworthy, she comes to find that change can begin with even the smallest of voices. This story is the kind that makes you itch: you’ll ache for Adunni, bristle at the people who treat her so unjustly, and yearn for her to succeed. This is a stunning, important, and fascinating first novel.”
— Lindsay Howard, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A READ WITH JENNA TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK!
“A courageous story.”—The New York Times
“A celebration of girls who dare to dream.”—Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers (Oprah’s Book Club pick)
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by The New York Times, Marie Claire, Vogue, Essence, PopSugar, Daily Mail, Electric Literature, Red Magazine, Stylist, Daily Kos, Library Journal, The Every Girl, and Read It Forward!
A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to fight for her dreams and choose her own future.
Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni's father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.
When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing.
But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can—in a whisper, in song, in broken English—until she is heard.
About the Author
Abi Daré grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and has lived in the UK for eighteen years. She studied law at the University of Wolverhampton and has an MSc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University as well as an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The Girl with the Louding Voice won the Bath Novel Award for unpublished manuscripts in 2018 and was also selected as a finalist in the 2018 Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition. Abi lives in Essex with her husband and two daughters, who inspired her to write her debut novel.
"Adunni’s brave, fresh voice powerfully articulates a resounding anger toward Africa’s toxic patriarchy...Daré draws the reader in with a vivid character whose dire circumstances are contrasted with her natural creativity (she keeps her spirits up by composing comic songs imagining a fabulous future), and her undying will to survive....Throughout her harrowing coming-of-age journey, told with verve and compassion, Adunni never loses the "louding voice” that makes Daré’s story, and her protagonist, so unforgettable." —New York Times Book Review
“Inspiring….explores a spirit and hope that cannot be contained even in the grimmest of circumstances." —Entertainment Weekly
"It will break your heart and then it will put it back together again." —Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show
"I'm excited about this debut novel from Nigerian author Abi Dare...In Nigeria and around the world, girls are fighting for their right to learn. I'm grateful to Abi for showing the challenges Nigerian girls face and showcasing the power of their voices." —Malala Yousafzai
"A powerful debut about fighting for our dreams.” —PopSugar
"[A] compelling debut." —Ms. Magazine, "Feminist Books Coming out in 2020"
"A bold new storyteller…Abi Daré's fearless debut is a celebration of girls who dare to dream and those who help unfurl their wings so that they might soar.”
—Imbolo Mbue, New York Times bestselling author of Behold the Dreamers (Oprah’s Book Club pick)
"I’m a big fan of hyper-realistic dialogue and using the sounds of a world to shape the energy of a novel, and so I was immediately drawn to The Girl with the Louding Voice. ...[Adunni] is a youthful, dynamic guide with serious bite and poetic language."
—Kiley Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Such a Fun Age
"The girl with the louding voice is a character for the ages. Adunni is a girl who narrates her own suffering with levity, who paints depth and texture and beauty into her Nigerian homeland, who tenderly cultivates her own humanity even while everything around her seeks to thwart it. She is an ambassador for girls everywhere. She is important, funny, brave, and enduring. Abi Daré has written an unforgettable novel, by the strength of her own louding voice." —Jeanine Cummins, New York Times bestselling author of American Dirt
“Abi Daré’s debut novel The Girl with the Louding Voice is a beautifully rendered, achingly real portrait of Adunni, a young woman finding her strength and shaping her destiny in modern day Nigeria. Adunni’s voice weaves and dances its way across the pages with a rhythm that captivated me, astonished me and, more than once, broke my heart. Brava to Daré for bringing this compelling character out of the shadows and into our lives.”
—Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl and The Last Romantics
“A stunning novel—original, beautiful and powerful. I was utterly captivated by Adunni and her mesmerizing louding voice.”
—Rosamund Lupton, New York Times bestselling author of Sister
"A coming of age tale like none other you'll read this year, narrated by a young woman you'll never forget. Beautiful, bracing, and arguably as transformative a journey for the reader as for the book's brave heroine."
—Liam Callanan, bestselling author of Paris by the Book
“Through Adunni's narration, Daré introduces readers to the full scope of the young woman's widening world. The narrator's attempts to make the unknown familiar often come across like metaphors in poetry. Readers leave Adunni knowing that she has the intellectual resources and the guts to face whatever challenges she must in order to attain her goals.” —Shelf Awareness
“A heart-warming, enlightening novel…Through the moving story of a girl’s persistent struggle to acquire an education, The Girl with the Louding Voice brings deep, significant issues into focus.” —Book Page
“Captivating… Daré's arresting prose provides a window into the lives of Nigerians of all socioeconomic levels and shows readers the beauty and humor that may be found even in the midst of harrowing experiences.” —Booklist
“Heartbreaking and inspiring...A moving story of what it means to fight for the right to live the life you choose.” —Kirkus