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9780241448779 61cc4c9e3ff3aede0af612a3 Open Water Shortlisted For The Costa First Novel Award 2021 https://cdn1.storehippo.com/s/607fe93d7eafcac1f2c73ea4/61cc4c9f3ff3aede0af612f7/webp/41lqq08qxfl-_sx322_bo1-204-203-200_.jpg

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA DEBUT NOVEL AWARD 2021

'A tender and touching love story, beautifully told' Observer 
10 Best Debut Novelists of 2021

'Hands-down the best debut I've read in years' The Times

'A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love' Candice Carty-Williams, bestselling author of QUEENIE


'An unforgettable debut... it's Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole' New York Times

'A love song to Black art and thought' Yaa Gyasi, bestselling author of HOMEGOING and TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM

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.

'An amazing debut novel. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future' Benjamin Zephaniah

'A short, poetic and intellectual meditation on art and a relationship between a young couple' Bernardine Evaristo, author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

'A very touching and heartfelt book' Diana Evans, award-winning author of ORDINARY PEOPLE

'A lyrical modern love story, brilliant on music and art, race and London life, I enjoyed it hugely' David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY and SWEET SORROW

'Caleb is a star in the making' Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT and BROWN BABY

'A stunning piece of art' Bolu Babalola, bestselling author of LOVE IN COLOUR

'For those that are missing the tentative depiction of love in Normal People, Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water is set to become one of 2021's unmissable books. Utterly transporting, it'll leave you weeping and in awe.' Stylist

'
An exhilarating new voice in British fiction' Vogue

'
A poetic novel about Black identity and first love in the capital from one of Britain's most exciting young voicesHarper's Bazaar

'An intense, elegant debut' Guardian

WINNER OF BAD FORM BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE AND THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2021
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD '5 UNDER 35' HONOREE

 
 

Review

A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love -- Candice Carty-Williams, Sunday Times bestselling author of QUEENIE

Open Water is tender poetry, a love song to black art and thought, an exploration of intimacy and vulnerability between two young artists learning to be soft with each other in a world that hardens against black people -- Yaa Gyasi, bestselling author of HOMEGOING

This is an amazing debut novel. It's a beautifully narrated, intelligently crafted piece of love that goes deep, then goes deeper. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future -- Benjamin Zephaniah, award-winning poet, playwright and novelist

Open Water is a very touching and heartfelt book, passionately written, which brings London to life in a painterly, emotive way. I love its musical richness and espousal of the power of the arts - pictures, sounds, movement -- Diana Evans, Women’s Prize shortlisted author of ORDINARY PEOPLE

Open Water encapsulates what it means to fall in love, explores what it means to move through the world whilst black, and explores the beautiful melding of the two. I will always remember it, and I will always return to this novel. A stunning piece of art. -- Bolu Babalola, Sunday Times bestselling author of LOVE IN COLOUR

Open Water is a beautifully, delicately written novel about love, for self and others, about being seen, about vulnerability and mental health. Sentence by sentence, it oozes longing and grace. Caleb is a star in the making. -- Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT and author of BROWN BABY

For those that are missing the tentative depiction of love in Normal People, Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water is set to become one of 2021's unmissable books. Utterly transporting, it'll leave you weeping and in awe. Stylist

An exhilarating new voice in British fiction - Vogue

A poetic novel about Black identity and first love in the capital from one of Britain's most exciting young voices - Harper's Bazaar

A debut already attracting awards season buzz, this shattering love story about two Black British artists is a compelling insight into race and masculinity. You'll remember this author's name Elle

A short, sharp poetic burst of a novel; it crystallises the torments and heat of young love brilliantly -- Andrew McMillan, award-winning author of PHYSICAL

Open Water is a powerful portrayal of the way that systemic violence can make a person forget softness and vulnerability. It exposes the failure of language to encapsulate feeling and illuminates the love and the anger that rage around the edges of everything -- Jessica Andrews, award-winning author of SALTWATER

Open Water is about defiance, mourning, art and music. It is an ode to being a full human being in a society that does not see you that way. It is about clinging to love in a world heavy with injustice and violence. There is not a wasted page -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, award-winning author of HARMLESS DAYS

Open Water has a delicate, painterly quality while packing a real emotional punch. Caleb Azumah Nelson is a real talent -- Olivia Sudjic, author of SYMPATHY, EXPOSURE and ASYLUM ROAD

Open Water is the most mesmerising read. Caleb Azumah Nelson writes voice like a young Baldwin, placing himself both inside and outside the world he describes. Open Water drew me in, hypnotised me and left me, a few hours later, both devastated and a little high. This is the kind of novel which doesn't let go. -- Jan Carson, award-winning author of THE FIRE STARTERS

Lush, urban, black, British and beautiful -- Inua Ellams, award-winning playwright and poet

Exquisite -- Kayo Chingonyi, award-winning author of KUMUKANDA

Set to the rhythms of jazz and hip hop, Open Water is an unforgettable story about making art and making a home in another person. In language bursting with grief and joy, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the ode to Black creativity, love, and survival that we need right now -- Nadia Owusu, author of AFTERSHOCKS

A brilliant debut whose gentleness and joyfulness are as profound as its examination of the cost of living in a racist society -- Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING

In this achingly tender and intensely moving debut, two Black artists fall in and out of love in South London. Featuring a stunning opening chapter, vulnerability, loss, masculinity and longing are covered. Written in a second person narrative, this is a majestic debut Cosmopolitan

A hotly tipped new voice in British fiction. - Metro

A stunning debut novel...Written in a unique second-person style, and with profound insight into race and masculinity, it's a tender love story you won't forget - Red

Open Water bristles with intelligence and sensuality ... an irresistible debut with the promise of greatness - RTE

Nelson's impressive first novel is tender, lyrical, and all-consuming. . . A truly exceptional debut - Booklist

One of the most beautiful novels I've ever read, impossible to put down even as it made my heart ache. Just stunning - Refinery29

This short debut novel is both a sweet, painful love story to savour and an account of what it means to live in fear in your own city, to be viewed simply as a black body and never truly seen. Nelson's prose is intense and lyrical, with a pleasing scattering of musical references. New Statesman

Considering the ways identity shapes experience, Open Water is a soulful meditation on art and love - Culture Whisper

Extraordinary - Woman & Home

Gorgeous Marie Claire

A lyrical modern love story, just 200 pages but brilliant on music and art, race and London life, I enjoyed it hugely. -- David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY and SWEET SORROW

Caleb's debut is soulful and poetic, celebrating and exploring the varying emotions of a blossoming romance while offering an insight into race and masculinity - Heat

A book about Black bodies and strength, vulnerability and fear, with a magnetic romance woven throughout that entrances the reader Evening Standard

Nelson's writing is so accomplished it's hard to believe it comes from a debut author. . . A raw and unvarnished look at what it means to be Black and British - Scotsman

An exciting, ambitious debut... while an elegance of style is a hallmark of Azumah Nelson's storytelling, there is bold risk-taking in his choices too -- Michael Donkor - Guardian

Caleb Azumah Nelson's debut novel is an intimate, London-set story of two artists falling in love, learning to show tenderness to one another in a society that's anything but. Nelson writes with grace and poignancy; it's a memorable first novel. - Tatler

A riveting love story... Written in lyrical and propulsive prose, a searing debut - Kirkus

An emotionally intelligent and tender tale of first love. . . what makes it remarkable is its bracing and nuanced exploration of black masculinity. An abundance of cultural references are framed through the perspective of a black British male - one seldom seen in modern British fiction. It is worth questioning why, and whose stories get to be told. Thankfully, Azumah Nelson has told this tale of art, love and black identity. And what a gift it is.' - The i

[A] once-in-a-blue-moon kind of read, a truly remarkable debut from a gifted young wordsmith . . . The novel is at once a celebration of Black love and Black art and expression; thoroughly unforgettable - Buzzfeed

Lyrical . . . this emotionally rich debut tells a budding love story against backdrops of Black culture, joy, and pain - Entertainment Weekly

An unforgettable debut... Azumah Nelson's poetic brilliance, his ability to balance the general and the specific, the ambient and the granular, makes for a salient achievement. It's Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole. - New York Times

The voice of the narrator feels almost Mrs Dalloway-esque as it moves around London, fluid and swift. Nelson has, with this novella, put down a new, exciting marker for what fiction can achieve -- Daisy Johnson

A short, poetic and intellectual meditation on art and a relationship between a young couple -- Bernardine Evaristo, author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

A lyrical love story that celebrates Black artistry - Guardian, Books of the Year

About the Author

Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 25-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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Open Water Shortlisted For The Costa First Novel Award 2021

Open Water Shortlisted For The Costa First Novel Award 2021

ISBN: 9780241448779
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Details
  • ISBN: 9780241448779
  • Author: Caleb Azumah Nelson
  • Publisher: Penguin Viking
  • Pages: 160
  • Format: Hardback

Book Description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA DEBUT NOVEL AWARD 2021

'A tender and touching love story, beautifully told' Observer 
10 Best Debut Novelists of 2021

'Hands-down the best debut I've read in years' The Times

'A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love' Candice Carty-Williams, bestselling author of QUEENIE


'An unforgettable debut... it's Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole' New York Times

'A love song to Black art and thought' Yaa Gyasi, bestselling author of HOMEGOING and TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM

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.

'An amazing debut novel. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future' Benjamin Zephaniah

'A short, poetic and intellectual meditation on art and a relationship between a young couple' Bernardine Evaristo, author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

'A very touching and heartfelt book' Diana Evans, award-winning author of ORDINARY PEOPLE

'A lyrical modern love story, brilliant on music and art, race and London life, I enjoyed it hugely' David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY and SWEET SORROW

'Caleb is a star in the making' Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT and BROWN BABY

'A stunning piece of art' Bolu Babalola, bestselling author of LOVE IN COLOUR

'For those that are missing the tentative depiction of love in Normal People, Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water is set to become one of 2021's unmissable books. Utterly transporting, it'll leave you weeping and in awe.' Stylist

'
An exhilarating new voice in British fiction' Vogue

'
A poetic novel about Black identity and first love in the capital from one of Britain's most exciting young voicesHarper's Bazaar

'An intense, elegant debut' Guardian

WINNER OF BAD FORM BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE AND THE GORDON BURN PRIZE 2021
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD '5 UNDER 35' HONOREE

 
 

Review

A beautiful and powerful novel about the true and sometimes painful depths of love -- Candice Carty-Williams, Sunday Times bestselling author of QUEENIE

Open Water is tender poetry, a love song to black art and thought, an exploration of intimacy and vulnerability between two young artists learning to be soft with each other in a world that hardens against black people -- Yaa Gyasi, bestselling author of HOMEGOING

This is an amazing debut novel. It's a beautifully narrated, intelligently crafted piece of love that goes deep, then goes deeper. You should read this book. Let's hear it for Caleb Azumah Nelson, also known as the future -- Benjamin Zephaniah, award-winning poet, playwright and novelist

Open Water is a very touching and heartfelt book, passionately written, which brings London to life in a painterly, emotive way. I love its musical richness and espousal of the power of the arts - pictures, sounds, movement -- Diana Evans, Women’s Prize shortlisted author of ORDINARY PEOPLE

Open Water encapsulates what it means to fall in love, explores what it means to move through the world whilst black, and explores the beautiful melding of the two. I will always remember it, and I will always return to this novel. A stunning piece of art. -- Bolu Babalola, Sunday Times bestselling author of LOVE IN COLOUR

Open Water is a beautifully, delicately written novel about love, for self and others, about being seen, about vulnerability and mental health. Sentence by sentence, it oozes longing and grace. Caleb is a star in the making. -- Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT and author of BROWN BABY

For those that are missing the tentative depiction of love in Normal People, Caleb Azumah Nelson's Open Water is set to become one of 2021's unmissable books. Utterly transporting, it'll leave you weeping and in awe. Stylist

An exhilarating new voice in British fiction - Vogue

A poetic novel about Black identity and first love in the capital from one of Britain's most exciting young voices - Harper's Bazaar

A debut already attracting awards season buzz, this shattering love story about two Black British artists is a compelling insight into race and masculinity. You'll remember this author's name Elle

A short, sharp poetic burst of a novel; it crystallises the torments and heat of young love brilliantly -- Andrew McMillan, award-winning author of PHYSICAL

Open Water is a powerful portrayal of the way that systemic violence can make a person forget softness and vulnerability. It exposes the failure of language to encapsulate feeling and illuminates the love and the anger that rage around the edges of everything -- Jessica Andrews, award-winning author of SALTWATER

Open Water is about defiance, mourning, art and music. It is an ode to being a full human being in a society that does not see you that way. It is about clinging to love in a world heavy with injustice and violence. There is not a wasted page -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, award-winning author of HARMLESS DAYS

Open Water has a delicate, painterly quality while packing a real emotional punch. Caleb Azumah Nelson is a real talent -- Olivia Sudjic, author of SYMPATHY, EXPOSURE and ASYLUM ROAD

Open Water is the most mesmerising read. Caleb Azumah Nelson writes voice like a young Baldwin, placing himself both inside and outside the world he describes. Open Water drew me in, hypnotised me and left me, a few hours later, both devastated and a little high. This is the kind of novel which doesn't let go. -- Jan Carson, award-winning author of THE FIRE STARTERS

Lush, urban, black, British and beautiful -- Inua Ellams, award-winning playwright and poet

Exquisite -- Kayo Chingonyi, award-winning author of KUMUKANDA

Set to the rhythms of jazz and hip hop, Open Water is an unforgettable story about making art and making a home in another person. In language bursting with grief and joy, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the ode to Black creativity, love, and survival that we need right now -- Nadia Owusu, author of AFTERSHOCKS

A brilliant debut whose gentleness and joyfulness are as profound as its examination of the cost of living in a racist society -- Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING

In this achingly tender and intensely moving debut, two Black artists fall in and out of love in South London. Featuring a stunning opening chapter, vulnerability, loss, masculinity and longing are covered. Written in a second person narrative, this is a majestic debut Cosmopolitan

A hotly tipped new voice in British fiction. - Metro

A stunning debut novel...Written in a unique second-person style, and with profound insight into race and masculinity, it's a tender love story you won't forget - Red

Open Water bristles with intelligence and sensuality ... an irresistible debut with the promise of greatness - RTE

Nelson's impressive first novel is tender, lyrical, and all-consuming. . . A truly exceptional debut - Booklist

One of the most beautiful novels I've ever read, impossible to put down even as it made my heart ache. Just stunning - Refinery29

This short debut novel is both a sweet, painful love story to savour and an account of what it means to live in fear in your own city, to be viewed simply as a black body and never truly seen. Nelson's prose is intense and lyrical, with a pleasing scattering of musical references. New Statesman

Considering the ways identity shapes experience, Open Water is a soulful meditation on art and love - Culture Whisper

Extraordinary - Woman & Home

Gorgeous Marie Claire

A lyrical modern love story, just 200 pages but brilliant on music and art, race and London life, I enjoyed it hugely. -- David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY and SWEET SORROW

Caleb's debut is soulful and poetic, celebrating and exploring the varying emotions of a blossoming romance while offering an insight into race and masculinity - Heat

A book about Black bodies and strength, vulnerability and fear, with a magnetic romance woven throughout that entrances the reader Evening Standard

Nelson's writing is so accomplished it's hard to believe it comes from a debut author. . . A raw and unvarnished look at what it means to be Black and British - Scotsman

An exciting, ambitious debut... while an elegance of style is a hallmark of Azumah Nelson's storytelling, there is bold risk-taking in his choices too -- Michael Donkor - Guardian

Caleb Azumah Nelson's debut novel is an intimate, London-set story of two artists falling in love, learning to show tenderness to one another in a society that's anything but. Nelson writes with grace and poignancy; it's a memorable first novel. - Tatler

A riveting love story... Written in lyrical and propulsive prose, a searing debut - Kirkus

An emotionally intelligent and tender tale of first love. . . what makes it remarkable is its bracing and nuanced exploration of black masculinity. An abundance of cultural references are framed through the perspective of a black British male - one seldom seen in modern British fiction. It is worth questioning why, and whose stories get to be told. Thankfully, Azumah Nelson has told this tale of art, love and black identity. And what a gift it is.' - The i

[A] once-in-a-blue-moon kind of read, a truly remarkable debut from a gifted young wordsmith . . . The novel is at once a celebration of Black love and Black art and expression; thoroughly unforgettable - Buzzfeed

Lyrical . . . this emotionally rich debut tells a budding love story against backdrops of Black culture, joy, and pain - Entertainment Weekly

An unforgettable debut... Azumah Nelson's poetic brilliance, his ability to balance the general and the specific, the ambient and the granular, makes for a salient achievement. It's Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole. - New York Times

The voice of the narrator feels almost Mrs Dalloway-esque as it moves around London, fluid and swift. Nelson has, with this novella, put down a new, exciting marker for what fiction can achieve -- Daisy Johnson

A short, poetic and intellectual meditation on art and a relationship between a young couple -- Bernardine Evaristo, author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

A lyrical love story that celebrates Black artistry - Guardian, Books of the Year

About the Author

Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 25-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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