Nigerian author Stephen Buoro will publish a debut novel about a 15-year-old boy coming of age in Northern Nigeria. Titled The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa, the novel is slated for publication in April 2023 by Bloomsbury.
Buoro is a sought-after author after he received the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship in 2018 and earned an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. The rights to Buoro’s novel sold to Bloomsbury UK in a six-figure deal, following an eight-way auction. US rights have also been sold for a substantial sum.
Growing up in the shadow of colonialism and communal violence in Nigeria, the main character Andrew Aziza has a hard time balancing his math classes, personal life, and larger political events taking place. According to the publisher, Buoro’s tragicomic novel provides a lens into “contemporary African life, the complicity of the West, and the impossible challenges of coming of age in a turbulent world.”
Read the full book description below:
Andrew Aziza is a fifteen-year-old boy living in Kontagora in Northern Nigeria. He lives with his secretive mother, Gloria, and spends his days about town with his droogs, Slim and Morocca. He’s contemplating the larger questions with his teacher Zahrah and his equally brilliant friend Fatima, a Hausa-Fulani girl who clearly has feelings for him. Together they discuss mathematical theorems, Black power, and what Andy has deemed the curse of Africa.
Inevitably, Andy falls hopelessly in love with the first white girl he lays eyes on: Eileen, Father McMahon’s niece. But at the church party held to celebrate her arrival, multiple crises loom. The first is that an unfamiliar man there claims to be Andy’s father. The second is that an anti-Christian mob has gathered, headed for the church. In the ensuing havoc and its aftermath, Andy is forced to reckon with his identity and desires and determine how to live on the so-called Cursed Continent.
Buoro’s novel sounds like an absolute adventure based on the book description and the stunning cover designed by Patti Ratchford. Ratchford said she was inspired by the book’s portrayal of Andy Africa as a mix between a superhero and a religious figure, hence the addition of the ethereal aura on the book cover.
She explains, “The unsettling contrasting colors and electric pseudo-African pattern were used to convey Andy’s emotional turmoil, his uncertainty about whether to embrace Africa or not, and the energetic nature of the story.”
Stephen Buoro was born in Nigeria and lives in Norwich, UK. He was a mathematics teacher in Nigeria before he began to pursue writing as a career. He is currently studying for a PhD in Creative-Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. He was awarded second place in the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award 2020.
Congrats to Buoro on his debut novel!
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa will be published on April 18, 2023. Preorder here.