Photo by Frances F. Denny for The New York Times

Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi recently announced on Twitter that their first work of nonfiction, a memoir, will be published by Riverhead Books in Summer 2021.

The memoir is titled Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir. Emezi describes the book as a “spirit first literary memoir” that sheds light upon the spiritual and physical journey from their early literary career to the present.

Though Emezi was raised in Nigeria, their mother is Indian Tamil. The title of the memoir is a nod to their heritage. Senthuran is a Tamil name meaning “warrior.” Readers must wait and see whether the title refers to an actual person in Emezi’s life or an overarching theme of the memoir.

Read the book blurb below:

I want to write as if I am free. This book is a story of an unfolding, of navigating embodiment as a nonhuman through the start of a literary career, through heartbreak, chronic pain, and an intimacy with death, of becoming a beast. Maybe this can be summarized as a spirit first literary memoir… It’s what I look like when I’m not translating myself to become accessible, legible, because here, I am already these things.

In Dear Senthuran, Akwaeke Emezi writes to the formative people in their life about their ongoing struggles around the idea of the self, and the core concepts of love, family, gender, home, faith, and success. The result is a powerful, raw exploration of identity — how to transcend the boundaries and expectations imposed by traditional belief systems, and how to share the resulting self with the world, to allow it space even while it struggles to survive.

Akwaeke Emezi is the author of Freshwater (2018), Pet (2019), The Death of Vivek Oji (2020), and the forthcoming book of poetry, Content Warning: Everything (Copper Canyon Press, 2022).

By 2022, Emezi will have published five books in four genres in five consecutive years.

Congratulations to Akwaeke Emezi!