Jide Salawu’s ‘Contraband Bodies’ acquired by NeWest Press Canada

NeWest Press Canada has acquired the rights to Jide Salawu’s debut full-length book, “Contraband Bodies.” This highly anticipated work is set for publication in Fall 2025.

“Contraband Bodies” represents a significant milestone in Salawu’s career, said a statement by his publicist, Pelumi Salako, marking his transition from acclaimed poet to full-length author. Salawu’s previous work, Preface for Leaving Homeland, was published by the African Poetry Book Fund in 2019 and received widespread acclaim. His poetry has also graced numerous local and international journals, earning multiple award nominations.

Salawu crafted “Contraband Bodies” during his fellowship with the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive in Canada, bolstered by the James Patrick Folinsbee Award from the University of Alberta’s English and Film Studies department in 2022. The book delves into the deeply personal and often harrowing experiences of migration, documenting the exodus both within and outside of Africa.

Described as an elegy to postcolonial Nigeria, “Contraband Bodies” explores the themes of displacement, loss, and the search for a new home. Salawu’s work is noted for its evocative imagery, syncopated language, and detailed portrayal of the Black migrant experience across Africa, Europe and America.

The official description of the book paints it as “a personal record of migratory travails and a country lost to precarious politics. It is a conscious elegy of displacement and home regained through the tribute of roads, evoking diasporic conditions in a new way by highlighting through pixelated imagery, syncopated language and lapidary details the diverse circumstances of being a Black migrant.”

Salako expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming release and encouraged readers and literary enthusiasts to look forward to this powerful new work. 


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