Open Water

Caleb Azumah Nelson

Published by Viking

Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.

At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.

‘We were so pleased to see Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut novel, Open Water, on the longlist for this year’s Desmond Elliot Prize. Open Water is a beautiful novel, breath-taking in all its forms, that has the ability to stay with you long after you’ve finished it. An important novel for our times, poignant and powerful – we’re very much hoping to see Caleb’s novel on the shortlist!’ – Maldon Books

‘Like the title suggests, Open Water pulls you in with one great swell, and it holds you there closely. A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love’ – Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

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Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 27-year-old British-Ghanaian writer and photographer living in South East London. His writing has been published in Litro. He was recently shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and won the People’s Choice prize. Open Water is his first novel.

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