Chukwuebuka Ibeh has announced the sale of his debut novel “Blessings” to Doubleday.
Making the announcement via his Twitter handle he wrote: “Now that it’s official, elated to announce that my novel Blessings have been sold to @doubledaybooks (US), @VikingBooksUK (UK), @PenguinCanada (Canada), @sfischerverlage (Germany), and @Ediciones_Urano (Spain). I’ll be back with details when I finish sobbing my heart’s fill”.
Now that it’s official, elated to announce that my novel Blessings have been sold to @doubledaybooks (US), @VikingBooksUK (UK), @PenguinCanada (Canada), @sfischerverlage (Germany), and @Ediciones_Urano (Spain).
I’ll be back with details when I finish sobbing my heart’s fill. pic.twitter.com/ORYugxbg4g
— Chukwuebuka Ibeh (@ChukwuebukaIbe4) May 3, 2023
According to Publishers Marketplace Deal Report, McSweeney’s contributor and one of Electric Literature’s emerging voices of Nigerian fiction Chukwuebuka Ibeh’s “Blessings”, a coming-of-age story, following a young gay man in Nigeria longing for love, acceptance, and queer joy, culminating in the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014, interrogating how politics can impact ordinary lives, was sold to Cara Reilly at Doubleday, for publication in 2024, by Emma Leong at Janklow & Nesbit (US).
Rights also to Isabel Wall at Viking UK, in an exclusive deal, and to David Ross at Viking Canada; and to Fischer (Germany) and Urano (Spain), by Mairi Friesen-Escandell at Janklow & Nesbit.
The story is told from the alternating perspectives of son and mother Obiefuna and Uzoamaka, as they reach towards a united future. Ibeh’s novel is a stunning debut that tells an “elegant and exquisitely moving story of love and loneliness.”
When Obiefuna’s father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and the family’s apprentice, newly arrived from the nearby village, he banishes Obiefuna to a strict Christian boarding school. Surrounded by unknown faces that soon become friends, lovers, and enemies, Obiefuna finds and hides who he truly is, while his mother Uzoamaka grapples to hold onto her favourite son, her truest friend. Leaving school as a young man, Nigeria criminalises same-sex relationships – and Obiefuna’s life, or the life he wants to live, becomes even harder to envision – out of a reach in a way that is more dangerous and tangible than before.
Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a promising writer from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, whose writing has appeared in McSweeneys, The New England Review of Books and Lolwe, amongst others, and he is a staff writer at Brittle Paper. He has studied creative writing under Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dave Eggers and Tash Aw.
Ibeh was the Runner-up for the 2021 J.F Powers Prize for Fiction, a finalist for the Gerald Kraak Award and Morland Foundation Scholarship and was profiled as one of the “Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction” in Electric Literature. He is a student on a fully funded MFA programme at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, until 2024.