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Winner of the FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction
Nine-year-old Benjamin is the youngest of four brothers. They live in the rocky hills of Akure. When their civil servant father is transferred to another town, the boys begin misbehaving: smashing windows, severing chicken heads and playing truant to follow billionaire politician M.K.O Abiola’s campaign trail. For six weeks they take to fishing in the forbidden Omi-Ala river. There they run into Abulu, a filthy yet visionary madman whose pronouncement that the eldest boy, Ikenna, will be killed places a dark and fearful cloud over the brothers. If the prophecy is true, which of them will be the murderer? Abulu’s words have devastating yet redemptive consequences for the family, as guilt and sadness binds the brothers, while their parents sink into despair.
With this remarkable and almost biblical parable set in the Abacha years of 1990s Nigeria, Chigozie Obioma announces his presence as a powerful new voice in Nigerian fiction.
Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria. His debut novel, The Fishermen, is winner of the inaugural FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction, the NAACP Image Awards for Debut Literary Work, and the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction (Los Angeles Times Book Prizes); and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize 2015, as well as for several other prizes in the US and UK. Obioma was named one of Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and adapted into stage.
He is an assistant professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His second novel, An Orchestra of Minorities, was published in Spring 2019 by Little, Brown and Co.