Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name was released May 16th, 2023 by Masobe Books in Nigeria.
By Helena Olori
Award-winning Nigerian novelist, Ukamaka Olisakwe, has announced the release of her newly-published title, Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name.
“DAWTCYN is now out in Nigeria today and I’m wrestling with a lot of feelings. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m thankful. To the team at @masobebooks, the incredible @molarawood who edited it, and the early readers who have said amazing things about it, I say thank you,” tweeted Olisakwe.
In this young adult novel, Olisakwe blends myths and magic to introduce readers to an enchanting, spectral world where a young Adanne, chosen as the Aja, and her dog, must journey into the Forest of Iniquity to change the destiny of the ill-fated community of Ani Mmadu. But the Ajas sent into the dreaded forest never to returns. Will Adanne buck the trend and end her people’s suffering?
“It was a playful, rebellious idea that emerged from a conversation with my family, about this girl who wrestles with a god,” Olisakwe tells Olukorede Yishau in an exclusive interview with @TheNationNews about the idea that birthed the book. “The idea was ridiculous and lovely …to attempt writing about the things I could have done as a child, the kind of adventure I would have gone on…before puberty set in and adulthood dimmed my light bulbs,” she explains.
In his review of the book, author of Wish Maker, Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike, wrote; “Olisakwe proves yet again that she delights in crafting stories as layered as an aged tree and finely textured as petals. This book is an adventure, a fantastic adventure for anyone seeking a thrill.”
(Read also: Has the “Great Nigerian Novel” Been Written?)
Ukamaka Olisakwe, often described as a “Nigerian feminist author,” is renowned for her eclectic body of work which includes her critically-acclaimed Ogadinma. In 2014, she was named one of the most promising writers for the Africa39 Project by the UNESCO World Book Capital. She lives in Vermillion, South Dakota, where she’s currently writing a TV series, Agoodjie, for Canalplus. A finalist for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, her works have appeared in the New York Times, Granta, Longreads, The Rumpus, Catapult, Rattle, Google Arts & amp; Culture, Waxwing, Jalada, Brittle Paper, and more. Her books include Eyes of a Goddess (2012), and Ogadinma (2020). She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Isele Magazine, and The Body Conversation.