The Borough Press has commissioned a collection of non-fiction exploring Nigeria, including contributions from Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bolu Babalola, Nels Abbey, Caleb Femi and Chigozie Obioma.
Editor Ore Agbaje-Williams (pictured) and Nancy Adimora, HarperCollins talent and audience development manager, commissioned Of This Our Country. It will be published in hardback in the UK and Nigeria on 30th September 2021, the day before Nigerian Independence Day and the eve of Black History Month in the UK.
Through short memoirs and essays, it will see feature Nigerian writers around the world sharing personal stories of the Nigeria they know, and the Nigeria they hope for.
Alongside existing contributors, The Borough Press is also looking for an unpublished and un-agented Nigerian writer of any age, based anywhere in the world, to submit a personal essay about the Nigeria they know and have experienced, whether that be the people, the culture or the place itself.
The paid commission “is an opportunity for talented Nigerian writers to showcase their skill, explore their heritage and potentially be published alongside some of the most highly regarded writers in the world”. Full terms and conditions are on the publisher's website, boroughpress.co.uk.
Also on the list of contributors are Yomi Adegoke, Ike Anya, Sefi Atta, J K Chukwu, Abi Daré, Inua Ellams, Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ, Helon Habila, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Anietie Isong, Okey Ndibe, Irenosen Okojie, Lola Shoneyin, Umar Turaki, Chika Unigwe and Hafsa Zayyan.
Agbaje-Williams said: “It’s not possible to capture everything about Nigeria in one book, but seeing it through the eyes of some of the phenomenal writers it has produced brings us close. As a reader I have long admired and read the authors in this collection; and as a Nigerian I’m incredibly proud to work with Nancy, a fellow Nigerian, and publish a book about our home country. To be able to bring those two things together in Of This Our Country is more than a dream come true, it’s extraordinary, and I’m incredibly excited for readers the world over to read it."
Adimora added: "I remember the moment Ore and I started talking about this idea, and it’s been a joy to watch it grow and take on a life of its own. Of This Our Country not only features authors I truly admire, but it is a vital contribution to national conversations and attests to the centrality of storytellers in any society. Working with Ore and the wider team has been an opportunity to explore what’s possible in publishing. I’m proud to be working on a collection that is so close to home and, as a reader and as a Nigerian, I can’t wait for it to hit bookshelves everywhere.”