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Last week, British Somalian writer and visual artist Diriye Osman announced the forthcoming release of his debut novel We Once Belonged to the Sea. September 2018 is a long time to wait, but it’s okay since we know it’s going to be worth it.

A little over two years ago, Osman come on our radar when he published Fairytales for Lost Children, a brilliant little collection of short stories exploring same sex love and desire.

This time around, he’s written a novel and, in a beautiful note addressed to his readers, he says that the novel is “an achievement” of which he is very “proud.”

In the letter which was published on The Huffington Post, Osman said that he composed the novel over one year by writing a hundred words at a time in the Notes app on his Iphone. Inspiring, right? He plans to share more on this truly fascinating writing process in a short film that will be released around the time of the novel’s publication.

He is planning an elaborate campaign for the book. There’ll be “signed limited edition postcards, a beautifully narrated audiobook, signed giveaways, Soundcloud recordings and much more.”

More details about the book will be available as the publication date draws closer. Meanwhile, keep a close eye on his website (diriyeosman.com) so you don’t miss anything.

Here is an excerpt of the letter:

Dear reader,

Three years ago, I published my debut collection of short stories, Fairytales for Lost Children. A lot of things happened after I wrote that book, most of which was brilliant and affirming. That small book, all 150 pages of it, connected me with some of the most beautiful, inspiring people. It was a heart-reshaping experience and I thank you for that invaluable support.

My debut novel is now complete and will be published in September 2018. This book began with a strange amalgamation of confidence and confusion. I had initially planned on writing another short story collection. As the months zipped by, however, I realized that this piece of writing called for a larger canvas: a novelistic approach.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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