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Past Participle, by Jane Labous, acquired by indie publishing house, Afsana Press

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

London-based independent publishing house, Afsana Press, whose mission is to publish stories with a social and political conscience, has acquired the contemporary novel, Past Participle, by Jane Labous.


Set in Dakar, Senegal, in the 1980s and present day, Past Participle tells the story of British ambassador’s wife, Vivienne Hughes, who on a rainy night after a wild party is involved in a car crash. Her vehicle fatally hits the motorbike of young Senegalese doctor, Aimé Tunkara. Pleading diplomatic immunity, Vivienne and her husband flee to England.

Three decades later, Aimé’s little sister, Lily Tunkara, now a high-flying lawyer in Dakar, finds a photograph that compels her to investigate what really happened that rainy night. As Lily faces increasing hostility from the local community, she turns to Vivienne Hughes, the only remaining witness, but is either woman prepared for the truth to emerge?

Past Participle is a powerful story of two women bound together by the fault lines of the past, a study of love and guilt, power and desire, retribution and forgiveness.


Literary Editor, Claire Strombeck, said: "This novel is perfection. I am *that* obsessed with Past Participle that I want to tell everyone about it! Again, I love this novel, it's brilliant."


Kieran Devaney, Author & Literary Editor, said: "Past Participle is a captivating story of murder and imperialist corruption, of friendship and motherhood and of the past haunting the present, told through the interlinking stories of two women.


"The novel tackles an important subject matter, but in a way that doesn’t feel hectoring or didactic. It recognises the nuances of power dynamics, personal desires and social and political realities in framing how people act and why. The novel offers a strong critique of western imperialism, attentive to the macro and micro applications of that, alongside a dynamic and moving story."

Past Participle will launch on 20 September 2023.

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