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Our June Author of the Month: AKWAEKE EMEZI

Saturday, Jun 01, 2024 at 12:30pm

Akwaeke Emezi (they/them) is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Death of Vivek Oji, which was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award; Pet, a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, a Walter Honor Book, and a Stonewall Honor Book; Freshwater, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and short-listed for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize; Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, which won the 2022 ALA Stonewall Book Award–Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award; and most recently, Content Warning: Everything, their debut poetry collection; Bitter, their second young adult novel; and You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, their debut romance novel. Selected as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation and featured on the cover of Time as a Next Generation Leader, they are based in liminal spaces.

Little Rot is Emezi’s thrilling new novel. Aima and Kalu are a longtime couple who have just split. When Kalu, reeling from the breakup, visits an exclusive sex party hosted by his best friend, Ahmed, he makes a decision that will plunge them all into chaos, brutally and suddenly upending their lives. Ola and Souraya, two Nigerian sex workers visiting from Kuala Lumpur, collide into the scene just as everything goes to hell. Sucked into the city’s corrupt and glittering underworld, they’re all looking for a way out, fueled by a desperate need to escape the dangerous threat that looms over them.

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Little Rot

- Akwaeke Emezi

Hardcover $39.00
Reader Reward Price: $35.10

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR BY HARPER'S BAZAAR, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, BOOKPAGE AND MORE!

"Emezi unspools a web of erotic danger in their entertaining latest...readers in search of a decadent good time will find it here."-
Publishers Weekly

A thrilling new novel from the bestselling, award-winning, visionary Akwaeke Emezi

 
One weekend.
The elite underbelly of a Nigerian city.
A party that goes awry.
A tangled web of sex and lies and corruption that leaves no one unscathed.

Aima and Kalu are a longtime couple who have just split. When Kalu, reeling from the breakup, visits an exclusive sex party hosted by his best friend, Ahmed, he makes a decision that will plunge them all into chaos, brutally and suddenly upending their lives. Ola and Souraya, two Nigerian sex workers visiting from Kuala Lumpur, collide into the scene just as everything goes to hell. Sucked into the city's corrupt and glittering underworld, they're all looking for a way out, fueled by a desperate need to escape the dangerous threat that looms over them.

The Death of Vivek Oji

- Akwaeke Emezi

Trade paperback $24.95
Reader Reward Price: $22.46

A Good Morning America Buzz Pick

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Electrifying." -- O: The Oprah Magazine


Named a Best Book of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, USA TODAY, Vanity Fair, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Shondaland, Teen Vogue, Vulture, Lit Hub, Bustle, Electric Literature, and BookPage

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?


One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son's body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family's struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens--and Osita struggles to understand Vivek's escalating crisis--the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. 

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations--a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

Pet

- Akwaeke Emezi

Young adult softcover $16.49
Reader Reward Price: $14.84

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST o STONEWALL BOOK AWARD WINNER o ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The New York Times o Time o Buzzfeed o NPR o New York Public Library o Publishers Weekly o School Library Journal

A genre-defying novel from the award-winning author NPR describes as "like [Madeline] L'Engle...glorious." A singular book that explores themes of identity and justice. Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?


There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question--How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

A riveting and timely young adult debut novel that asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial. 

"[A] beautiful, genre-expanding debut" -The New York Times

"The word hype was invented to describe books like this." -Refinery29

Bitter

- Akwaeke Emezi

Young adult softcover $17.99
Reader Reward Price: $16.19

From National Book Award finalist Akwaeke Emezi comes a companion novel to PET that explores both the importance and cost of social revolution--and how youth lead the way.

Bitter is an aspiring artist who has been invited to cultivate her talents at a special school in the town of Lucille. Surrounded by other creative teens, she can focus on her painting--though she hides a secret from everyone around her. Meanwhile, the streets of Lucille are filled with social unrest. This is Lucille before the Revolution. A place of darkness and injustice. A place where a few ruling elites control the fates of the many.

The young people of Lucille know they deserve better--they aren't willing to settle for this world that the adults say is "just the way things are." They are protesting, leading a much-needed push for social change. But Bitter isn't sure where she belongs--in the art studio or in the streets. And if she does find a way to help the Revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: what are the costs?

Acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi looks at the power of youth, protest, and art in this timely and provocative novel, a companion to National Book Award Finalist Pet.

Praise for PET:

"The word hype was invented to describe books like this." --Refinery29
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
"[A] beautiful, genre-expanding debut. . . . Pet is a nesting doll of creative possibilities." --The New York Times
"Like [Madeleine] L'Engle, Akwaeke Emezi asks questions of good and evil and agency, all wrapped up in the terrifying and glorious spectacle of fantastical theology." --NPR

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

- Akwaeke Emezi

Trade paperback $23.00
Reader Reward Price: $20.70

A Good Morning America Buzz Pick

"A love story like no other, and this one...will have you gripped from page one." --Vogue

"An unabashed ode to living with, and despite, pain and mortality." --The New York Times Book Review

A New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and "one of our greatest living writers" (Shondaland) reimagines the love story in this "riveting and emotional exploration of grief and taking a second chance on love" (PopSugar).

Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It's been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she's almost a new person now--an artist with her own studio and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it's time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn't ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She's even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the overwhelming desire Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person who is most definitely off-limits--his father. Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there's the biggest question of all--how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?

"With tenderhearted characters and an immaculate balance of realistic dialogue and lyrical prose" (BuzzFeed), Akwake Emezi's vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty is a "a love letter to the brave choices we make in the name of love, the costs we pay for it, and the glory of the reward at the end" (Marie Claire).

Freshwater

- Akwaeke Emezi

Trade paperback $27.50
Reader Reward Price: $24.75

A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree
Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel
Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A New York Times Notable Book


The astonishing debut novel from the acclaimed bestselling author of The Death of Vivek OjiYou Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, and PetFreshwater tells the story of Ada, an unusual child who is a source of deep concern to her southern Nigerian family. Young Ada is troubled, prone to violent fits. Born "with one foot on the other side," she begins to develop separate selves within her as she grows into adulthood. And when she travels to America for college, a traumatic event on campus crystallizes the selves into something powerful and potentially dangerous, making Ada fade into the background of her own mind as these alters--now protective, now hedonistic--move into control. Written with stylistic brilliance and based in the author's realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace.


Content Warning

- Akwaeke Emezi

Trade paperback $24.50
Reader Reward Price: $22.05

The first book of poems from an acclaimed young author, whose meteoric rise has already landed them on the cover of Time Magazine.

In their bold debut poetry collection, Akwaeke Emezi--award-winning author of Freshwater, PET, The Death of Vivek Oji,and Dear Senthuran--imagines a new depth of belonging. Crafted of both divine and earthly materials, these poems travel from home to homesickness, tracing desire to surrender and abuse to survival, while mapping out a chosen family that includes the son of god, mary auntie, and magdalene with the chestnut eyes. Written from a spiritfirst perspective and celebrating the essence of self that is impossible to drown, kill, or reduce, Content Warning: Everything distills the radiant power and epic grief of a mischievous and wanting young deity, embodied.