The Nigerian writer and multidisciplinary artist Eloghosa Osunde’s debut novel Vagabonds! is on the shortlist of the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize.

Described as “fiercely inventive” and “a vivid work of imagination”, Osunde’s Vagabonds! generated critical buzz upon publication announcement and was named one of Brittle Paper’s most anticipated books of the year. We weren’t the only source eagerly awaiting this title. Other major news outlets like Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, New York Times, Harpers Bazaar, British Vogue, and Vulture published rave reviews about Osunde’s debut. The novel was published by Riverhead Books in the US, Fourth Estate in the UK, and Farafina in Nigeria. The story follows a band of outcasts with supernatural powers on a quest to lead true lives.

The prize, which is organized by the UK largest booksellers Waterstones, seeks to recognize exceptional first novels by emerging authors. The shortlist is decided via a vote by Waterstones’ booksellers. Highlighting some of the central themes of the book, the award citation is a glowing testament to Osunde’s work.

An exuberant tribute to the ‘vagabonds’ who live their lives in the margins, Osunde’s freewheeling takedown of Nigerian capitalism takes readers on a twilight tour of the spirits and misfits of Lagos.

Joining Eloghosa Osunde on what the judges described as a “truly global shortlist which broadens horizons and challenges genre” are Bonnie Garmus for Lessons in Chemistry, Tess Gunty for The Rabbit Hutch, Louise Kennedy for Trespasses, Sequoia Nagamatsu for How High We Go in the Dark, and Tara Stringfellow for Memphis.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 25 August 2022.

Congratulations to Eloghosa!