Jacaranda Books to publish historical fiction based on Queen Victoria’s goddaughter

Debut novel Breaking the Maafa Chain, written by Shakespearean actress Anni Domingo, will be published by award-winning indie Jacaranda Books this autumn.

Jacaranda has acquired the rights to Domingo’s historical fiction title, based on the true story of abolitionist and Queen Victoria’s goddaughter, Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

The timely novel follows two sisters who are sold into slavery; one is sent to America and the other becomes the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, exploring the experience of Black Britons in the Royal Family.

Completed at the prestigious Hedgebrook Writing Centre in Seattle, Breaking the Maafa Chain’s first draft was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize in 2014 and won the Myriad Editions First Draft Competition in 2018. An extract of the novel was included in the New Daughters of Africa anthology edited by Margret Busby, which was published in 2019.


Discussion around the historical significance of Sarah Forbes Bonetta has grown in recent years, with the English Heritage honoring her with a commissioned portrait by Hana Uzor as part of a series celebrating often overlooked Black British figures in history. A film based on her life is also currently in production, starring multi award-winning film and theatre actress Cynthia Erivo in the main role.

Instagram Live Announcement

To launch the title, Anni Domingo will be in conversation with Jacaranda publisher, Valerie Brandes on Instagram Live at 6:30pm on Thursday 15th April, discussing Breaking the Maafa Chain, Domingo’s inspiration, and the vast amount of the research that went into the novel.

About the Author

Anni Domingo is an Actress, Director and Writer, working in Radio, TV, Films and Theatre after training at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. She appeared in Inua Ellam’s Three Sisters, a play set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, at the National Theatre (UK) and toured Robert Icke’s The Doctor to Australia early in 2020. She currently lectures Drama and Directing at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, Students and at RADA. Anni’s poems and short stories are published in various anthologies and her plays produced in the UK.