MONROVIA, Montserrado – On Saturday, November 3, the Treehouse Tech Workspace in Sinkor became the attraction of many literary enthusiasts excited about the Liberia launch of She Would Be King, the debut novel by U.S.-based Liberian author Wayétu Moore.
Moore’s novel, published by Graywolf Press, reimagines Liberia’s foundation through the eyes of three characters with supernatural gifts in a blend of historical facts and fantasy that has been described as magical realism.
While Moore’s novel was released in the U.S. in September, this is the first time physical copies have been made available in Liberia.
The author took to the halls of the Treehouse Tech Workspace to read the first chapter of the book, surrounded by the attentive eyes and ears of attendees of the book launch.
Among the audience was Christine Elder, the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, who told The Bush Chicken that she was proud of Moore, who was born in Liberia but traveled to the U.S. as a refugee of the civil crisis.
“Storytelling in every culture is very important,” Elder said. “Moore wrote a very creative piece.”
The U.S. ambassador said she thought Moore’s work was a pivotal piece and that it would “give people a new look at Liberia.”
Elder said she hoped Liberian media outlets would give air time for Moore’s work to be promoted to the public. She encouraged young Liberian writers to persevere and keep finding mentors who can help them realize their dreams.
Another attendee of the book launch was Monie Captan, the chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Account in Liberia.
He said he was pleased to see a young Liberian author writing a book that was not only well received internationally, but also competitive with other authors’ works.
After listening to Moore read the first chapter of the book, Captan said he was motivated to read the other chapters. He expressed relief that the book was not about the Liberian civil crisis.
“We need a change and different narrative,” Captan added. “Moore has done a fantastic work and Liberians need to support.”
While this is Moore’s first novel, she has also written several essays in publications such as the Atlantic. Additionally, she has authored numerous children’s books.
She is also the founder of One Moore Book, an independent publishing company that puts out culturally sensitive books for children of underrepresented backgrounds.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah