Umar Turaki’s Such a Beautiful Thing to Behold Goes to Little A in Two-Book Deal

“I wanted to write a book that seeks to find wonder in the least likely of places,” said Turaki, whose writing earned praise from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
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Umar Turaki by Musa Tukurah.

Umar Turaki by Musa Tukurah.

The Nigerian writer Umar Turaki has signed a two-book deal with Little A, the literary fiction and nonfiction imprint of Amazon Publishing. The deal was a pre-empt. The first book, Such a Beautiful Thing to Behold, is a novel, and is forthcoming in 2022.

Turaki is represented in the US by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Literary Agency and in the UK by David Godwin Associates. Publishers Marketplace reports that Somberg pitched it as “an allegorical tale in the vein of Station Eleven, in which a small community is cut off from the world after a mysterious illness leaves only children behind.”

Little A editor Selena James secured world rights excluding Nigeria, the rights of which went to Kachifo Limited.

“It’s a story about love, family, survival, and how the small, mundane things begin to matter when we are faced with certain situations. Like this ongoing pandemic,” Turaki told OPEN COUNTRY MAG. “We are losing our capacity for wonder and gratitude, and I wanted to write a book that seeks to find wonder in the least likely of places. I really can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

Sharing the news on Twitter, Turaki wrote: “This has been my deepest, most precious dream for 20 years. Now I get to see it come true.”

Umar Turaki lives in Jos, Nigeria. He works in television as a writer and director and his short films have been screened at festivals. His writing has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Scholarship, longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize, and won the AFREADA Photo-Story Competition.

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In 2016, for a literary series on Olisa.tv, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie selected and edited his short story “Her.”

“There is a striking integrity in Umar Turaki’s story-telling — and in Umar himself, by the way,” Adichie wrote. “I loved this beautiful recollection of childhood, the loss and yearning, the restraint that never descends to coyness, the honesty and humanity. It was an utter pleasure to read and edit. I hope it finds the many readers it deserves.”

As should this novel.

Umar Turaki’s Such a Beautiful Thing to Behold is forthcoming in 2022.

Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young, a writer, culture journalist, curator, and media consultant, is the founder and editor of Open Country Mag. He was editor of Folio Nigeria, CNN’s exclusive media affiliate in Africa, and has led or joined editorial teams at a host of platforms and projects in African literature. He has written about the Nigerian culture scene, covering innovation in over 20 fields including art, music, tech, sports, cuisine, fashion, journalism, sculpture, beauty, health, and activism. In literature, his Profile subjects have included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Damon Galgut, and Tsitsi Dangarembga. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He sat on the judging panel of The Morland Scholarship, a British grant for African writers, and currently chairs the panel of The Gerald Kraak Prize, a South African initiative for storytelling about gender, sexuality, and social justice. He has an MA in African Studies and a BA in English and History from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently studying for an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among “The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians” by Avance Media. Twitter & Instagram: @otosirieze. Website: otosirieze.com.

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