Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name is set in a fantasy multiverse rooted in Igbo mythology—imagine The Hunger Games set in Ben Okri’s The Famished Road. This is a story about an aja who decides that it is time to wrest power from a merciless deity.
When the streams suddenly run dry in Ani Mmadu, the people know it is time to atone for a sin that goes back to the very beginning of their world; the consequence of one woman’s rebellion against the all-powerful and unforgiving, jealous god. To avert this catastrophe and for the waters to flow and nourish the farms again, the people must send an Aja—a child chosen by the Oracle—into the Forest of Iniquity, to atone for that great Sin. It falls on young Adanne to save her people this time. But the Ajas sent into the dreaded forest tend never to return. Is Adanne the long-awaited one who will buck the trend and end her people’s suffering?
Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name is an extraordinary novel bursting with kaleidoscopic worlds and beings. It is a feat of the imagination from a natural storyteller.
ON SALE: May 16, 2023
“In her latest novel, Ukamaka Olisakwe blends myths and magic to introduce readers to an enchanting, spectral world where a young girl and her dog must change the destiny of an ill-fated community. Olisakwe proves yet again that she delights in crafting stories as layered as an aged tree and finely textured as petals. This book is an adventure, a fantastic adventure for anyone seeking a thrill.”
—Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike, author of Wish Maker.
Winner, 2021 SprinNG Women Authors Prize. A GRANTA Most Popular Fiction From 2020. Named one of the 50 Notable African Books of 2020 by Brittle Paper, YNaija’s Notable Books of the Year; listed: Top 20 Nigerian Books of 2021 by Channels TV; a Book of the Month by One Read Africa, Accelerate TV, Kawe Africa; Author Spotlight by African Writers Trust.
Ogadinma Or, Everything Will be All Right is a tale of departure, loss and adaptation; of mothers who experience trauma at the hands of controlling men, leaving them with burdens they find too much to bear. After an episode of abuse results in exile from her family in Kano, thwarting her plans to go to university, seventeen-year-old Ogadinma is sent to her aunt’s house in Lagos. When a whirlwind romance with an older man descends into indignity, she is forced to channel her strength and resourcefulness to escape a fate that appears all but inevitable.
A feminist classic in the making, Ukamaka Olisakwe’s second novel introduces a heroine for whom it is impossible not to root and announces the author as a gifted chronicler of the patriarchal experience.
Audible (Narrated by Adjoa Andoh)
PRAISE FOR OGADINMA
‘This smart, unforgettable novel sings out with an earnest hope for an end to intergenerational abuse.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘Ukamaka Olisakwe has written an unflinching portrait of survival and strength. The story of Ogadinma’s indomitable character and her harrowing journey is deeply moving. Olisakwe has proven to be a fearless writer, and I am grateful for this powerful work.’ —Julianna Baggott, author of The Seventh Book of Wonders
‘Olisakwe’s affecting novel begins with a gut punch and ends in an epiphany. Written in vivid, engaging prose, this is the story of one woman’s journey to independence.’– Chinelo Okparanta, author of Under the Udala Trees
‘A stirring, unflinching novel that further cements Olisakwe as an important feminist voice.’ — Rob Spillman, co-founder of Tin House and author of All Tomorrow’s Parties
‘An intimate and dazzling exploration of the life and times of a young Nigerian woman whose move to the capital city of Lagos leads to a series of encounters, which are by turns disorienting, revelatory and tragic.’ —Christopher Merrill, author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood
‘The writing in this novel is crisp, the pace is measured, and the prose is beautiful. Olisakwe has had plenty of experience in this genre, such that the writing appears effortless though one knows that a lot of effort would have gone to the writing.’ –Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, The Lagos Review
‘Ogadinma digs out a range of emotions—rage, expectation, admiration, admonition—which keep the reader turning page after page. The tale feels both historical and current, propelled by a steady narrative and characters that keep the reader hoping that everything will be all right.’ —Harriet Anena, The Columbia Journal
‘This novel is not just a woman’s descent into subjugation. It is more than that. It is centred within the feminist discourse which is one of hope and empowerment.’ —The Book Bag
‘An unflinching portrait of female survival and inner strength in the face of multiple harrowing obstacles in modern-day Nigeria.’ —Bookanista
‘This novel not only delivers a searing account of women’s lives and treatment in a patriarchal society, but also bite-sized history lessons on Nigeria.’ —Literandra
‘In crisp and measured prose Ukamaka Olisakwe has constructed a brutal and brilliant portrait of a woman escaping the clutches of men. Men who would suffocate her, mind & body, if they were given half a chance.’ — Alice Brady, Brady on Books
‘Ogadinma a deeply local, truly Nigerian, but at the same time, a universally relatable story.’ —Ripley From Bookland