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British-Nigeria Poet Theresa Lola is set to publish her second poetry collection titled Ceremony for the Nameless. Forthcoming on November 7, 2024 by Penguin UK, the book will explore the diasporic experience by tracing the act of naming across generations.

In Ceremony for the Nameless, Lola draws on naming ceremonies from Yoruba culture to explore ideas of belonging through family life, history and memory. These lyrical poems are bound to inspire readers to look deeper into their social identities and the way we live in the world.

The book will be published on the Penguin Contemporary Poetry list. Senior commissioning editor Donald Futers and Penguin Press’ publishing director Chloe Currens remarked to The Bookseller that they are thrilled to be publishing Lola’s collection:

This is a roving, musical book of poetry in which Theresa Lola explores profound questions – of identity and dislocation, of nationhood and independence, of the duties of belonging and the freedoms of the self – with characteristic aplomb. Her voice brings vivid life to scenes of celebration and desolation. Here, the unceremoniously buried receive their proper burial; the nameless get their ceremony. There is marriage, dancing, birth – all the colour at the earth’s core. It’s stunning, assured work.

Lola herself is pleased with the way her collection turned out, commenting that “this book has been a joy to write and live with – my most inquisitive yet.” She added she can’t wait for her readers to experience the poetry and to “find their own ceremony within it.”

Read the full synopsis below:

In Yoruba culture, newborn babies are welcomed into the world, and ushered into the social fabric, through naming ceremonies filled with songs of praise. The names bestowed are communicative both of where the baby has come from – the circumstances of its birth, the atmosphere in the home – and of where its future will take it. Both are forms of destiny.

Far-reaching and musical, Theresa Lola’s second collection explores the act of naming and its role in shaping our identities, our aspirations, what we carry and how we belong. Lola conjures and questions the realities of her dual Nigerian-British identity; traces the lineages of names; asks why some deserve to be named while others are treated as though invisible; and explores the ways our journey through life might require us to cast off old expectations – both others’ and our own – just as at other times it can bring us back, strangely and unexpectedly, to where we first began.

Theresa Lola is a British-Nigerian poet and writer and was appointed the Young People’s Laureate for London in the year 2019-20. In 2018 she was awarded the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Her debut poetry collection In Search of Equilibrium was longlisted for the 2021 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize.

Congrats to Lola on the upcoming poetry collection! Preorder here.