Blessings will be published in the spring of 2024.
Viking Press (USA) has acquired the world English rights to Blessings, the debut novel from 22-year-old Nigerian writer, Chukwuebuka Ibeh. Blessings tells the story of the coming-of-age of a young gay man in Nigeria. The novel will be published in the spring of 2024.
Editorial director of Vikings, Isabel Wall, acquired the rights from Emma Leong at Janklow & Nesbit.
“When Obiefuna’s father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and the family’s apprentice, newly arrived from the nearby village, he banishes Obiefuna to a strict Christian boarding school. Surrounded by unknown faces that soon become friends, lovers and enemies, Obiefuna finds and hides who he truly is, while his mother Uzoamaka grapples to hold on to her favourite son, her truest friend. Leaving school as a young man, Nigeria criminalises same-sex relationships – and Obiefuna’s life, or the life he wants to live, becomes even harder to envision – out of a reach in a way that is more dangerous and tangible than before,” reads the book’s synopsis.
Wall notes thus: “I first came across Chukwuebuka’s writing two years ago – I read a stunningly moving short story of his online and immediately contacted him to ask if he’d ever thought of writing a novel. His talent is unmistakable. I could not be prouder to be bringing his miraculous debut into the world.”
Ibeh said: “There are no words to describe the elation I feel in finally introducing this novel to the world. I’ve long been interested in the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014, and in interrogating how unprovoked, cynical politics can impact ordinary lives. Blessings equally engages themes that are at the core of my writing: parental love, the question of self-hood, friends and friendships, loneliness and longing. It is a joy for me to have the novel find a home at Viking, particularly through Isabel Wall whose editorial work I have long admired.”
Chukwuebuka Ibeh is currently a student on a fully-funded MFA programme at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.