A new novel by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is in the works. The title of the novel is When We Were Fireflies. It will be published in 2023 by Austrian indie press Residenz Verlag and Masobe Books based in Lagos, Nigeria.

When We Were Fireflies is described in Publisher’s Marketplace as a “lavishly told novel, the lively portrait of a society torn between tradition and modernity.” In an email note to Brittle Paper, Ibrahim explains that the novel is “about a Nigerian artist who goes hunting for the people he believes murdered him in a previous life.” This is his second novel. The brief description above shows that it continues in his signature style of blending of fantasy and realist elements.

In a press statement, the novel is described as “a literary portrait about the intersection of love, loss and memory.” Read the full synopsis below:

When brooding artist, Yarima Lalo, encounters a moving train for the first time, two serendipitous events occur. First, it triggers memories of past lives in which he was twice murdered—once on a train. He also meets Aziza, a woman with a complicated past of her own, who becomes key to helping him understand what he is experiencing. With a third death in his current life imminent, together they go hunting for remnants of his past lives. Will they find evidence that his mind is unravelling or discover lost loves and enemies from a forgotten past?

Ibrahim is a well-known Nigerian novelist. He was born in Jos, Nigeria. His short story “Echoes of Mirth” is featured in the celebrated Africa39 collection edited by Ellah Wakatama. In 2016, his debut novel Season of Crimson Blossoms won Africa’s richest prize, the 100,000 USD Nigeria Prize for Literature. He is the author of two short story collections and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in journalism at the University of Iowa.

Congrats to Ibrahim on the new title!

Stay tuned for more updates.