The debut novel from Chukwuebuka Ibeh, a first-year MFA student in fiction, will be published in March 2024 by Viking UK. Blessings is set in a post-military Nigeria and follows two characters, a young Nigerian boy grappling with his faith and sexuality and his mother who tries to hold onto her concept of morality while remaining loyal to her son.
“I first came across Chukwuebuka’s writing two years ago — I read a stunningly moving short story of his online and immediately contacted him to ask if he’d ever thought of writing a novel,” said Isabel Wall, editorial director at Viking UK. “His talent is unmistakable. I could not be prouder to be bringing his miraculous debut into the world.”
Ibeh wrote that short story, “The Ache of Longing,” when he was 17. It was named a finalist for a prize on queer writing and published three years later.
“I lack the words to aptly summarize the joy I feel in finally seeing my novel take its first step towards going out to the world,” Ibeh said. "The novel is an embodiment of my own curiosities — mostly with regards to the extent to which cynical politics further marginalize minority groups, but also simpler notions of parental love, loss and grief, longing, and queer joy.”