Anansi Boys

Neil Gaiman

Illustrated by Francis Vallejo

Introduced by Nalo Hopkinson

Gold Award Winner at Spectrum 2019

Neil Gaiman’s raucous comedy Anansi Boys bursts into the spotlight in an extraordinary Folio collector’s edition, filled with vibrant images by artist Francis Vallejo and introduced by Afrofuturist Nalo Hopkinson.

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‘It’s so beautiful. The most amazing edition of Anansi Boys.’
  1. Neil Gaiman

The seed of Anansi Boys was planted during a conversation with the comedian and actor Lenny Henry. Where, asked Henry, were all the people of colour in fantasy fiction? Gaiman turned his attention to African mythology and the figure of Anansi the spider god. Having already made a scene-stealing appearance in the award-winning American Gods, the irresistible Mr Nancy makes a triumphant return in this witty romp of a novel – perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

Winner of a wooden pencil in the Book Design: Illustrated Book and Graphic Novel category at the D&AD Awards 2019

Winner of a Bronze Cube in The Art Director’s Club 99th international awards for The One Club 2020

Production Details

Bound in printed and blocked cloth
Set in Octavian with Volume display
376 pages
Frontispiece and 5 colour illustrations (including 2 double-page spreads)
25 black & white integrated illustrations and chapter opening spreads
Printed page edges
Pictorial slipcase with textured UV spot varnishing
10˝ x 6¾˝

One of Folio’s most joyous creations

During early discussions on the production of Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman noted that: ‘You’ve set the bar so high with American Gods. Now you merely have to do something just as beautiful and just as ground-breaking.’ Gaiman chose artist Francis Vallejo to take on the challenge, and the result has to be one of Folio’s most joyous creations. As well as vivid spiderwebs on the page tops and five superb full-colour illustrations, the Folio edition of Anansi Boys features a very special tactile pictorial slipcase and a binding that nods to the dual nature shared by the characters Fat Charlie and Spider. Inside, fully illustrated, original black-and-white chapter headings tell their own folktale – all of which are especially fitting for a book about the power and vitality of stories.

Francis Vallejo won the Gold Award at Spectrum 2019 for his work on this edition.

God is dead. Meet the offspring...

He’d only had a brother for a little over a day, and already he felt there would be no surprises left in this new family relationship. Spider was the cool one; he was the other one. 

Bereavement is a time of upheaval and for Fat Charlie Nancy the changes are practically seismic. Not only does he discover that his embarrassing old dad was actually Anansi the African trickster god, his life is about to be invaded and turned upside down by Spider, the magical twin brother he never knew he had. Desperate to snatch back his life – and his fiancée – from this agent of chaos, Fat Charlie enlists the help of forces he barely understands, only to unleash a darkness that could destroy everything.

An authentic voice

As well as helping to inspire the book, Lenny Henry provided advice and insight on Caribbean syntax and dialogue, helping to ensure that the voices of the characters sounded authentic. In this task he was joined by acclaimed Jamaican-born speculative fiction writer Nalo Hopkinson, who has provided a fond and perceptive introduction for this Folio edition, looking back over her own memories of this ‘gripping, funny, madcap’ book, and the particular challenges of crafting accurate cultural representation in a fantasy world.

The magic of stories

‘Gaiman is, simply put, a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him.’

  1. Stephen King

Anansi has his roots in Ghana, his stories spreading through West Africa to the Caribbean and beyond, and he even turns up in disguise in other stories; anyone who grew up with the tales of Brer Rabbit will recognise many of Anansi’s tricks. And it is these stories, Mr Nancy claims, that lit the way out of the dark times of precivilisation: ‘all over the world, all of the people, they aren’t just thinking of hunting and being hunted any more. Now they’re starting to think their way out of problems … That’s when they start to make the world.’ It’s a theme that elevates Gaiman’s delightful screwball comedy into an unmissable entry in his fantasy pantheon.

A master of the genre

‘Neil Gaiman, a writer of rare perception and endless imagination’

  1. William Gibson

Neil Gaiman has won almost every award in speculative fiction, including the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker, and the Carnegie and Newbery medals, and he remains celebrated by the giants of genre writing: Stephen King has called him ‘a treasure-house of story’. His work demonstrates exactly how wild and varied the field can be, from uprooting fairy tales in Stardust to exposing the fantastical underbelly of London in Neverwhere. He’s also an icon in the comics world, with his Sandman series revolutionising the form. Anansi Boys is Gaiman’s funniest book but, as with all his work, there are darker currents running underneath. Magic, in Gaiman’s world, can turn on you, and it’s only the chaos of family – and the ability to laugh at yourself, perhaps – that can provide redemption.

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a critically acclaimed writer of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His many notable works include the groundbreaking series Sandman (the first comic book to win a literary award, the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story) and the novels Good Omens (1990, in collaboration with Terry Pratchett), Stardust (1999), and American Gods (2001, The Folio Society 2017; winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award for Best Novel). His writing for young readers includes Coraline (2002, winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award for Best Novella, and a Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers) and The Graveyard Book (2008, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal). Credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, Gaiman is an author whose work crosses many genres and reaches audiences of all ages. His most recent publication is Norse Mythology (2017).

About Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica. She lived in Jamaica, Guyana, the US and Trinidad before moving to Canada as a teenager. She has published six novels and numerous short stories. Her first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring (1998), won the Warner Aspect First Novel contest. She has also received the Campbell and Locus awards, a World Fantasy award, and two Sunburst awards for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. She is currently a Professor of Creative Writing and part of a faculty research cluster in science fiction at the University of California Riverside. In 2018 she was awarded Eagle-Con’s Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award, in recognition of impactful contributions to the world of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. She is the author of House of Whispers, a new graphic novel in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Universe. She is currently completing an alternative historical fantasy of the Caribbean.

About Francis Vallejo

Francis Vallejo is an award-winning American artist. He earned his BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design and has since created artwork for many notable clients, including Candlewick Press, Snapple, Vibe magazine and CamelBak. He has exhibited in the Anchorage Museum, the Museum of American Illustration, Nucleus gallery and Pixar Animation Studios. Vallejo illustrated Jazz Day (2016), Roxane Orgill’s book on photography for younger readers, which won the 2016 Boston GlobeHorn Book Award for best picture book, among other accolades. He is an Assistant Professor of Illustration at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Vallejo’s work can be characterised as traditional media experimentation with substantial inspiration from classical picture-making and draughtsmanship.


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