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Image from Afridisapora.

Afridiaspora magazine will host Elnathan John for a reading on April 15 at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Centre, New York. The 5 PM event is organised by the magazine’s founder, Nana-Ama Kyerematen, and builds on the buzz generated by Elnathan’s 2015 debut novel Born on a Tuesday.

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Powered by blurbs from Taiye Selasi, Petina Gappah, Uzodinma Iweala and Leila Aboulela, the novel was described by the New York Times Book Review as a “thoughtful, nuanced first novel” with Elnathan billed as “a writer to watch.” It was a finalist for the 2016 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature and was longlisted for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature. Here is a description by its publishers, Grove Press, on Amazon.com.

From two-time Caine Prize finalist Elnathan John, a dynamic young voice from Nigeria, Born on a Tuesday is a stirring, starkly rendered first novel about a young boy struggling to find his place in a society that is fracturing along religious and political lines.

In far northwestern Nigeria, Dantala lives among a gang of street boys who sleep under a kuka tree. During the election, the boys are paid by the Small Party to cause trouble. When their attempt to burn down the opposition’s local headquarters ends in disaster, Dantala must run for his life, leaving his best friend behind. He makes his way to a mosque that provides him with food, shelter, and guidance. With his quick aptitude and modest nature, Dantala becomes a favored apprentice to the mosque’s sheikh. Before long, he is faced with a terrible conflict of loyalties, as one of the sheikh’s closest advisors begins to raise his own radical movement. When bloodshed erupts in the city around him, Dantala must decide what kind of Muslim—and what kind of man—he wants to be. Told in Dantala’s naïve, searching voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and violence.

The novel was earlier featured as the magazine’s August 2016 Book of the Month.

Here’s one way to spend Easter: attend this.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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