Chigozie Obioma, who has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, has been acquired by Hutchinson Heinemann for his new novel, The Road to the Country.
Ailah Ahmed, the publishing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Nigeria, to The Road to the Country. David Ebershoff at Hogarth will publish the novel in the US. The publisher described the novel as “an extraordinary coming-of-age story following a university student in Lagos who decides to search for his missing brother, lost in the chaos of Nigeria’s civil war.”
According to Obioma, “Ahmed is a wonderful editor and extraordinary publisher, and the combination of herself and David Ebershoff of Hogarth US is any writer’s dream.”
Ailah Ahmed left the following comment regarding the deal: “I am so delighted to be publishing The Road to the Country by Chigozie Obioma. Chigozie is one of the most important and talented writers of our generation. I can’t think of another writer under 40 who has had two out of two novels shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He is ambitious with every new novel but this –– The Road to the Country – about the Biafran War, is sure to become a modern classic.”
Here is the synopsis of the story: “In 1950s Nigeria, a bereaved seer embarks on a visionary journey into the future of a child yet unborn. That boy, Kunle, is a university student in Lagos burdened with a guilty conscience and who sets out to rescue his missing brother from Biafra, a country at war, only to find himself conscripted to fight in one of the most devastating and under-examined conflicts of the 20th century.
“The fate of the seer and the young soldier will merge in a devastating and epic coming-of-age novel akin to war classics such as All Quiet on the Western Front.”
For Obioma, The Road to the Country is a return to the subject of sibling rivalry and the search for reckoning explored through the lens of two men who are burdened—one with grief, and the other, with a guilty conscience.
Announcing the news on Facebook, Obioma says that the book is one he has always wanted to write.
The date for publication has not yet been announced.