Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open Water

County Buildings
In person & Online event
Sat 25 Sep
14:00 UK
£0.00 to £5.00

A stunning, shattering debut novel about two Black British artists falling in and out of love. 

Gordon Burn Prize longlisted, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water is 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. 

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.

With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.


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

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

About the author: 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 is available from the Wigtown Book Festival shop HERE

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