Dialogue Books will publish the “sublime” second novel by award-winning writer Okechukwu Nzelu.
UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to Here Again Now were acquired by publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove from Cara Lee Simpson at Jonathan Clowes for publication as Dialogue’s lead fiction title in March 2022.
“Here Again Now is a literary novel exploring different kinds of love,” the Little, Brown imprint said. “A book about lovers, friendship, fathers and sons. About distance and sex between men. About vulnerability, losses, love and regrets.”
The novel, dubbed “sublime” by Dialogue, is set primarily in Peckham, south London, but also features Manchester, Berlin and Nigeria. The synopsis reads: “Inspired by the Book of Ruth [from the Old Testamen], the novel tackles masculinity and sexuality in boldly lyrical, sometimes rhapsodic prose that recalls D H Lawrence and Zora Neale Hurston. Throughout the novel, snatches of prose echo and reappear in different ‘reincarnations’, underlining the characters’ connections to one another. Reincarnation is a primary theme of the novel, reflecting both the Igbo tradition of reincarnation, as well as reincarnations of memory and how we relate to them”
Manchester-based Nzelu is a writer and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. In 2020 his debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney (Dialogue), won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and the Polari First Book Prize. In 2015 he won a New Writing North Award.
Lovegrove said: “Okechukwu Nzelu is a tremendously talented writer and this new novel confirms that he is an important British author. I was floored reading Here Again Now, Okechukwu’s scintillating prose brings forth a powerful tenderness of two Black gay men who are under the curious gaze of one of their fathers. There is so much brilliance in this book: complications of long-term love and the desire to be seen and one’s full self to be acknowledged. I am excited for readers to read this potent novel.”
Nzelu commented: “Being published by Dialogue means being a part of something really special. I’m always incredibly proud and excited to be among such passionate and talented people.”
Cara Lee Simpson added: “I am very excited that Sharmaine Lovegrove and the Dialogue team will publish Okechukwu Nzelu’s incredible second novel, Here Again Now, as their lead fiction title for 2022, where the author’s astute eye has turned to questions of modern love and masculinities. Written in melodic prose, Here Again Now is compelling and quietly devastating.”
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