A big warm Transatlantic welcome to Toufah Jallow! Toufah was the winner of a national pageant for young women as a college student in her native Gambia, which the President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, a notorious dictator, sponsored. He took an interest in Toufah, and the anti-poverty project she presented as part of the pageant.  Jammeh summoned Toufah to the State House on multiple occasions, and during one visit, he asked her to marry him. But Toufah wasn’t interested in marrying a man many years her senior, who already had a wife, and whose reputation for violence was well known. The scholarship to a university of her choice anywhere in the world, as the winner of the pageant, was the  future she yearned for. Enraged by her refusal, Jammeh raped her, and she fled the country in a harrowing escape. She found safety as a refugee in Canada, and became determined to give voice to countless victims of sexual violence in Africa.

Toufah has testified at The Gambia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, presented at the Assembly of State Parties at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and at the United Nations on Human Rights Day. She is the founder of the Toufah Foundation, an organization that supports victims of sexual violence. Toufah is studying to become an advocate for survivors of sexual violence. She lives in Toronto, Canada. 

The book, Toufah: The Pageant, the President, and the Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement by Toufah Jallow with Kim Pittaway, was acquired by Anne Collins, Publisher, Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group, for the Random House list, on an exclusive submission, and is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2021. Toufah Jallow is represented by Marilyn Biderman.  

Writer Kim Pittaway is an award-winning journalist and editor, and the current Executive Director of the MFA Program in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College, Halifax. Kim is represented by Shaun Bradley.