Cassava Republic Press is delighted to announce that ‘Season of Crimson Blossoms’ by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim has won the 2016 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature.
The $100,000 prize for Prose Fiction is awarded every four years. The two other books on the shortlist were ‘Born on a Tuesday’ by Elnathan John (also published by Cassava Republic Press) and ‘Night Dancer’ by Chika Unigwe.
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim commented:
“I think for many years people will look back on this year and say how strong a shortlist it was. Both Elnathan and Chika would have been worthy winners of the prize. ‘Season of Crimson Blossoms’ is a novel that stirred me deeply and took me through varied emotional journeys while writing it and I am happy that it has had the same effect on readers all over the world and on the judges for this year’s prize. This win is a vindication of the faith my publishers have always had in this book and I am as happy for them as I am for all the many people who have read the book and believed in it. This is obviously a good day for me, but a greater day for Nigerian literature and for publishers of Nigerian fiction.”
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, co-founder and director of Cassava Republic Press, said:
“We are enormously proud to have had two authors on this year’s shortlist and heartily congratulate Abubakar and his Nigerian publishers, Parresia Publishers, on his win. We have been extremely pleased with reception to ‘Season of Crimson Blossoms’ in the UK and we look forward to introducing this wonderful book to an even wider international audience when we launch it in the US in Spring 2017.”
About the book
Season of Crimson Blossoms tells the captivating story of an illicit affair between a devout 55-year-old widow and grandmother, Binta Zubairu, and a 25-year-old street gang leader, Hassan Reza. The novel takes place in a conservative Muslim community in Northern Nigeria, set against the backdrop of political unrest. Through Binta, we follow the intimate daily life of a Muslim Hausa family, where life revolves around domestic disputes and divorces, friendships and family. Following whispers of scandal at the local madrasa, the situation comes to a head and Binta’s wealthy son confronts Reza, with disastrous consequences. This story of love and longing – set against undercurrents of political violence – reveals deep emotions that defy age, class and religion.
Praise for Season of Crimson Blossoms
“A powerful and compelling debut. The taboo subject of an older woman’s sexuality, portrayed with courage, skill and delicacy, is explored in the context of the criminal underworld and the corrupt politics that exploits it. This is a novel to be savoured.”
– Zoe Wicomb, author of October and Chair of Judges, Caine Prize for African Writing
“A rich and vibrant novel with shades of brutality, romance and the pressures of a close knit community.”
– Leila Aboulela, author of The Kindness of Enemies
“A haunting story of forbidden love trying to survive in the midst of social and political violence; of obligation versus personal freedom; of desire and death. Vivid characters, good dialogues and a strong sense of location are the perfect ingredients.”
– Veronique Tadjo, author of As The Crow Flies
About the author
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is a Nigerian writer and journalist. His debut collection of short stories The Whispering Trees was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. His debut novel Season of Crimson Blossoms was published in the UK in May 2016 by Cassava Republic Press. Abubakar is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013) and a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015). In 2014, Abubakar was named in the Hay Festival Africa39 list of the most promising writers under the age of 40 who will define future trends in African writing. Abubakar is the recipient of the 2016 Goethe-Institut & Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award.He lives in Abuja, Nigeria.
About the Publisher
Cassava Republic Press is a dynamic African publishing company with a clear mission – to change the way the world thinks about African writing. With an eclectic list of quality literary fiction, crime, romance, young adult fiction and children’s books, Cassava Republic aims to spotlight the vibrancy and diversity of prose by African writers on the continent and in the Diaspora. Founded in Abuja, Nigeria in 2006, Cassava Republic has a proven record of discovering and developing the careers of some of Africa’s most exciting contemporary writers, such as Teju Cole and Helon Habila, and a reputation for publishing high quality fiction and non-fiction for adults and children alike.
From Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s mesmerising Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, Elnathan John’s critically-acclaimed coming-of-age novel Born on a Tuesday and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms, a controversial and gripping story of an affair between a devout Muslim grandmother and a 25-year-old drug dealer and political thug; to the Lagos-based pulsating crime novel Easy Motion Tourist (Leye Adenle) – Cassava Republic’s list represents an exciting new body of African literature linking writers across different times and spaces and genres.