The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho


Product Details

$27.99  $26.03
Henry Holt & Company
Publish Date
5.74 X 8.48 X 1.43 inches | 1.06 pounds

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About the Author

Paterson Joseph is a beloved British actor and writer. Recently seen on Vigil, Naughts + Crosses and Boat Story, he has also starred in Peep Show and Law & Order UK and he plays Arthur Slugworth in the Wonka movie. The Secret Diaries of Ignatius Sancho is his debut novel


Longlisted for 2023 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Jhalak Prize 2023 Shortlist

"A winning first novel. . . . With the conjuring tricks of historical fiction, Joseph has taken an actual man and, two and a half centuries later, made him as thoroughly himself, and as fully present, as he was the first time round."
--Thomas Mallon, New York Times Book Review

"It's a tough task for a writer to set themselves, but the care and research shine through in every chapter. This is a tragicomedy of the first order, and not to be missed."
--The Guardian

"Add this fictionalized account of a real Black British trailblazer to your pile of necessary historical fiction."
--Book Riot

"Joseph channels the writing style of the day and draws on the real-life Sancho's diaries to give voice to his hero's rich interior life. Readers shouldn't miss this exhilarating and rewarding account of a man living at the cusp of world change."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[T]he rollicking fictionalized memoirs of a real-life Black British trailblazer . . . An entertaining portrait that also illuminates rare opportunities for Black people in 18th-century London."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Paterson Joseph's Sancho is a joy to read as much for the riveting and full portrait of a historical figure's interior life as for the page-turning tale. Joseph navigates this wonderfully entertaining story with intelligence and verve. The real Sancho composed a life of music and service; Joseph renders his life as art."
--Brendan Slocumb, author of The Violin Conspiracy and Symphony of Secrets

"Paterson Joseph's The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho is a needed perspective of historical Black excellence on English soil. Witty and insightful, the novel is a critical perspective of what it means to want more and to become a master of one's destiny. Joseph gives life to the times, the politics, the friendships, and all aspects of a fully realized man, Ignatius Sancho. Crafted with care, respect, and the resolve to edu-tainment, Paterson Joseph does not disappoint in penning the story of a dignified man whose ascendency from enslaved to a wholly free British man needs to be known."
--Vanessa Riley, award-winning author of Island Queen and Queen of Exiles

"An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. In The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, Paterson has given us a character for the ages. It's hard to overpraise this achievement. You might read it for its evocation of an age or for its depiction of the cultures, attitudes, and race all colliding in 'Enlightenment' England, but whatever you bring to the book, the book will bring to you adventure, romance, and the full flowering of a magnificent literary hero, all told in wonderful prose and with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended."
--Stephen Fry, actor, comedian, director, and writer

"A rollicking picaresque and one hell of a good read."
--Book Culture newsletter