TOUFAH: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement

TOUFAH is the story of an inspiring young woman who, after she was forced to flee to Canada from her home in The Gambia, bravely bucked taboo and named herself as a survivor of a sexual assault by the country’s dictator—launching an unprecedented protest movement.

In November 2019, a colleague contacted me: her brother worked in the Canadian Embassy in Dakar and had met a remarkable young woman with a compelling story to tell. She wanted advice on how to get a book about her experiences written and published. Could I help? We met in Toronto in January 2020, and after a conversation that stretched past the two-hour mark, we agreed to work together to get her story onto the page. In the weeks that followed, we spent two long weekends together, doing hours of interviews and walking the streets of Toronto together as we visited the places she’d lived and walked when she first arrived in Canada in 2016 as a “protected person.” When COVID-19 locked down the world, we continued our conversations via WhatsApp and email. In July 2020, Penguin Random House Canada said yes to our book proposal and in January 2021, we delivered the manuscript. Along the way, Steerforth Press in the US signed on as well.

That young woman was the remarkable Toufah Jallow, and it has been a privilege to work with her to bring her story to the page. TOUFAH: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement has been called by Kirkus Reviews “a fiercely readable, potent memoir of a survivor who refuses to be silenced” in a starred review, and named one of their most anticipated books of fall 2021. The book will be published by Steerforth Press in the US on October 12, 2020, and by Penguin Random House Canada in Canada on February 1, 2021.

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