Arinze Ifeakandu Signs US and UK Deals for Debut Novel Say You’re Here (Exclusive)

The manuscript in progress has been acquired by Scribner in the US and W&N in the UK.
Arinze Ifeakandu by Lawren Simmons for ID UK

Arinze Ifeakandu by Lawren Simmons for ID UK.

Arinze Ifeakandu Signs US and UK Deals for Debut Novel Say You’re Here (Exclusive)

We can exclusively reveal that Dylan Thomas Prize winner Arinze Ifeakandu’s debut novel has been acquired, in separate deals, by Scribner in the US and by Weidenfield & Nicolson in the UK. The manuscript, still in progress, is titled Say You’re Here.

The acquiring editors are Rebekah Jett, for Scribner, and Lettice Franklin, for Weidenfield & Nicolson, which also published Ifeakandu’s breakout story collection, God’s Children Are Broken Little Things, in the UK. The Nigerian writer is represented by Jin Auh at The Wylie Agency.

Say You’re Here explores a romantic relationship between two men, a Nigerian and an American, and is set in the US.

A description from Scribner:

A novel following Kachi, a graduate student in music composition who has come to Iowa from Nigeria, and Noah, a married, closeted midwestern businessman, as they navigate work, friendships, and familial tensions in the years after a connection on Grindr leads to an unexpected entanglement.

The deals follow the acclaim for God’s Children Are Broken Little Things, published last year by A Public Space Books in the US. One of both our Anticipated and Notable Books of 2022, the story collection received a 5-star review from our staff writer Emmanuel Esomnofu, who called it “a testament to an incoming generation of African writers, and in time will serve as an anchor of motivation.”

The book has since won the Dylan Thomas Prize for authors under 39 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize for the US and Canada, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and the Lambda Award for Gay Fiction, and earned a spotlight mention from the Story Prize. One of the stories, “Happy Is a Doing Word,” published in Kenyon Review, won an O. Henry Prize. Along the way, the Nsukka and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate drew praise from Damon Galgut, Edmund White, and Colm Toibin.

A release date for Say You’re Here has not yet been announced.

Congratulations to Ifeakandu! ♦

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Paula Willie-Okafor, Staff Writer at Open Country Mag

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