Uzodinma Iweala is working on a new novel. It’s been a 12-year wait since Beasts of No Nation debuted in 2005, so his fans must be thrilled.
While information about the plot has not been revealed, we do have a sense of some of the novel’s key themes.
Iweala, who is featured on the cover of Guardian Nigeria’s Life Magazine, shared some details about the new book in an interview with Vanessa Walters.
“This is a very American novel set in Washington DC dealing with some of the issues you might expect….The characters are of different races but centered around the crisis of who has the right to full citizenship and who has the right to safety in that space. It’s not necessarily about killings and protest but how people focus and deal with the inner trauma those experiences create.”
“I’ve always been interested in the way that people process trauma…This one deals with, in vague terms, police brutality – how individuals and societies process the trauma around them. It’s fascinating to me both in the creative work and in the work that we try to do at Ventures.”
This novel deviates from his first in interesting ways. There is the geographical shift from the Africa-inspired fictional world of Beasts of no Nation to an American community.
It looks like violence in the new novel will take a different form. Those who have followed some of the conversations around Iweala’s work know that Beasts of no Nation is frequently cited as an iconic example of “poverty porn”—the name for writing that represents suffering and violence in extremely graphic terms and images.
Iweala remarks that new novel is not “necessarily about killings and protest but how people focus and deal with the inner trauma those experiences create.” We wonder whether this signals a shift from the overt representation of violence in Beasts of No Nation to a more inward, subtle, and subjective exploration of trauma and violence.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that this is the 17th year since Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation was published.
Post and Facebook link image via Guardian Life Magazine