Cassava Republic has acquired the queer literary fiction book AND THEN HE SANG A LULLABY by Nigerian writer Ani Kayode Somtochukwu from Emma Shercliff at Laxfield Literary Agency. Publication is planned for July 2023.
AND THEN HE SANG A LULLABY is a breathtaking and captivating story of two gay men who find each other in Nigeria and are determined to love despite all that stands in their way. August is a straight-passing track star who has left Enugu, his overbearing sisters, and an apathetic father to find himself at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. Segun is an openly gay student who is reluctant to fall in love with August, wanting only to be with a man who is comfortable with his sexuality and has the capacity to love without shame. But when the Same Sex (Marriage) Prohibition Act is passed, August and Segun must find a way to tend to their blossoming romance in a country determined to eradicate them. And even while they run into harshness and cruelty at the hands of people whose lives and loves are legal, the two young lovers find kindness, understanding, solace and comfort in the arms of each other and in unexpected places.
In a post-SSMPA Nigeria, where so many gains have been made, and more still to go, AND THEN HE SANG A LULLABY is a refreshing and timely exploration of two young loves trying to navigate their desire through visibility and invisibility, fear and courage in a society awash with bigotry and over-zealous religiosity. Lush, tender and so deeply Nigerian, it is such a pleasure to dive in and be consumed by the symphony of beating hearts that echo through every page.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Publishing Director, said:
We are delighted to have acquired this marvel of a debut by a promising new writer. And Then We Sang a Lullaby is full of energy and life, explosive and vibrant. The descriptions of the violence and sexual intimacy are raw, visceral, courageous and all too human. This brazenness is exactly what we need to see more of in literature and it is what makes this novel throb with joy, tenderness and possibility.
Ani Kayode Somtochukwu said,I am so excited that Cassava Republic will publish And Then He Sang a Lullaby in West Africa. It was important to me from the get-go to have a Nigerian publisher to make sure this novel was as accessible as possible to the community whose story it tells. And Cassava Republic’s enthusiasm and passion for this book is absolutely electrifying. I can rest easy knowing that And Then He Sang a Lullaby has found a home where it would be treated with the tenderness and political sensitivity that it needs.