Nigerian author Ukamaka Olisakwe is releasing her new young adult debut novel in 2023. The book is called Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name and will be published by Masobe Books based in Lagos, Nigeria.

The novel is set in a fantasy multiverse rooted in Igbo mythology, where an Aja, a child chosen by the Oracle, has to be sent into the forest, to appease a ruthless deity for past sins. The young Adanne is chosen for the task, but she decides to fight and take back power instead of submitting to the god’s rules. A blend of Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Olisakwe’s new fantasy novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats as the suspense and thrill of the young Adanne’s adventures allows readers to experience this enchanting world of myth and magic.

According to a press statement by the publisher, Olisakwe’s new work is “an extraordinary novel bursting with kaleidoscopic worlds and beings, a feat of the imagination from a natural storyteller.” Read the full synopsis below:

When the streams suddenly run dry in Ani Mmadu, the people know it is time to atone for a sin that goes back to the very beginning of their world; the consequence of one woman’s rebellion against the all-powerful and unforgiving, jealous god. To avert this catastrophe and for the waters to flow and nourish the farms again, the people must send an Aja—a child chosen by the Oracle—into the Forest of Iniquity, to atone for that great Sin. It falls on young Adanne to save her people this time. But the Ajas sent into the dreaded forest tend never to return. Is Adanne the long-awaited one who will buck the trend and end her people’s suffering?

Olisakwe is a renowned Nigerian novelist. She was born in Kano, Nigeria, and currently lives in South Dakota. In 2014, she was named one of Africa’s most promising writers under the age of 40 by the UNESCO World Book Capital. She won the the SpringNG Women Authors Prize for her novel Ogadinma in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2019, among other honors. She is the founder of Isele Magazine and The Body Conversation. She has written two books, Eyes of a Goddess (2012) and Ogadinma (2020). We’re certain her new novel will carry forth similar feminist themes as her previous novel but with a fantasy twist!

Congrats to Olisakwe on the new book! We can’t wait to find out more about Adanne’s journey into the forest.