As I’ve been caught saying so often recently, 2020 has been A Year (TM)! This year manages to keep mixing the best and worst of things and putting them before me. The blood of my Nigerian kinfolk killed in the recent #EndSARS protests at the #LekkiTollGateMassacre (seriously, look those two hashtags up) has not even yet dried on the tarmac, and I’ve spent the last few days oscillating between hopelessness and righteous anger. And then this happens.
I’m elated, but at the same time, sad that the people whose stories I have told, many of them who I would have loved to read this story, to see themselves celebrated in literature, may very well not be alive today. That lends a muted quality to my celebrations. So, in lieu, I will be raising a fist, celebrating the characters in this novel, who fought to keep their state and nation honest, as the victims of the #EndSARS protests have, and in honour of our protest and activist heroes, both living and fallen, who have done everything to ensure the world knows our pain, but also our fire.
My sincere thanks go to folks at Abaddon/Rebellion Publishing, who did everything to ensure this story saw the light of day: acquiring editor David Moore, editor Kate Coe and then-publicist Remy Njambi. This success is for you, too. Shout out to the current team at Rebellion, who has kept this going since then. Major thanks to all the conventions, interviewers and venues who gave me a platform to speak about this book. Shout out to all the reviewers, book bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers who gladly boosted this book by word-of-mouth. Thank you to the ASFS for making space for us to feel fully ourselves, and to the Ake Festival for supporting this venture. And my sincere gratitude to every reader who gave this book a chance. You all are the best heroes of this book’s story. Well, second-best heroes, after David Mogo, haha.
(PS: Full announcement here – Best Novel presentation starts at 0:18. Congratulations to all the co-nominees and co-winners!)