31 Questions with Caleb Azumah Nelson

4 August 2021

Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of 'Open Water', answers 31 pressing questions for Same Page, the new monthly e-publication from the Wigtown YA team.

Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 26 year old British Ghanaian writer and photographer from southeast London. His photography was shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and won the people's choice prize. His short story, Pray, was shortlisted for the BBC National short story award 2020. Open Water is his first novel.

Open Water follows two young people who meet in a pub in southeast London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggle to belong, both are now artists - he a photographer, she a dancer - trying to make their mark in a city that by turn 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 is to be a person in the 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.

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