Nigerian publishing house, Cassava Republic, has acquired the West African rights to Ani Kayode Somtochukwu’s debut novel “And Then He Sang a Lullaby”. The book follows the story of two gay men in Nigeria who fall in love despite the challenges they face due to the Same Sex (Marriage) Prohibition Act. August, a straight-passing track star, and Segun, an openly gay student, navigate their blossoming romance in a society determined to eradicate them.
The book, described as “breathtaking and captivating,” is set to be published in July 2023. Ani Kayode Somtochukwu, an award-winning Nigerian writer and queer liberation activist, says that it was important to have a Nigerian publisher to make the novel as accessible as possible to the community whose story it tells.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Publishing Director at Cassava Republic, expressed delight in acquiring the “marvel of a debut by a promising new writer.” She described the novel as “explosive and vibrant,” with descriptions of violence and sexual intimacy that are “raw, visceral, courageous and all too human.” The novel’s brazenness, she added, is what we need to see more of in literature and is what makes it throb with joy, tenderness, and possibility.
“And Then He Sang a Lullaby” is a timely exploration of two young loves trying to navigate their desire through visibility and invisibility, fear and courage in a society awash with bigotry and over-zealous religiosity. Ani Kayode Somtochukwu’s work interrogates themes of queer identity, resistance, and liberation, and his writings have appeared in literary magazines across Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America.
Pre-Order the book directly from Cassava Republic here.