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‘When We Speak of Nothing’, Olumide Popoola’s Debut Novel 


…Now Available In Nigeria

‘When We Speak of Nothing’, a novel by London-based Nigerian-German author, Olumide Popoola and published by Cassava Republic Press, is now available for purchase in Nigeria after the book’s massive success in Europe.

With its initial release in London in July 2017, the novel was described by Elle Magazine as a “smart novel with electric prose that tells us what it means to be young, black and queer in London,” while award-winning British novelist, Diana Evans, writing for the Financial Times, noted that ‘When We Speak of Nothing’ is “a satisfying and perceptive examination of the emergence of the whole person against the odds posed by a constricting society.”

Peppered with modern slang, Popoola’s debut novel is a fast-paced narrative, that takes a deep look into the lives of the book’s lead characters in Port Harcourt and London, examining their struggles, identity and experiences as they navigate through their lives while pointing out social issues such as the Niger Delta ecocide and racial tensions in London.

It follows the lives of best friends, Karl and Abu, two black London-born seventeen-year old boys who are navigating through the last years of their teen, discovering and learning about themselves and the world around them. Although the book’s entire length takes place within a short period of time, it however, offers readers a critical look into the individual lives of the boys as they both find their paths in different locations while still trying to maintain a friendship that is fast unraveling. 

When We Speak of Nothing is a gripping, well-told story that shows the intricacies of friendship, acceptance and dealing with gender identity and difference, including the dilemmas faced by teenagers on the brink of adulthood. It is by all standards, a beautiful story that should have been told long ago.

The book is available for sale at Cassava Republic bookstores at 62B, Arts and Crafts Village, Opposite Sheraton, Abuja; or Shop F4086 Tejuosho Shopping Mall, Yaba, Lagos. You can also order the book from www.cassavarepublic.biz, send an email to info@cassavarepublic.biz or call 07044924924 for more details.


About When We Speak of Nothing 

Best mates Karl and Abu are both 17 and live near Kings Cross. It’s 2011 and racial tensions are set to explode across London. Abu is infatuated with gorgeous classmate Nalini but dares not speak to her. Meanwhile, Karl is the target of the local ‘wannabe’ thugs just for being different.     

When Karl finds out his father lives in Nigeria, he decides that Port Harcourt is the best place to escape the sound and fury of London, and connect with a Dad he’s never known.

Rejected on arrival, Karl befriends Nakale, an activist who wants to expose the ecocide in the Niger Delta to the world. Increasingly distant from happenings in London, Karl falls headlong for Nakale’s feisty cousin, Janoma.

Meanwhile, the murder of Mark Duggan triggers a full-scale riot in London. Abu finds himself caught up in its midst, leading to a tragedy that forces Karl to race back home.

When We Speak of Nothing launches a powerful new talent. The stream of consciousness prose, peppered with contemporary slang, captures what it means to be young, black and queer in London. If grime music were a novel, it would be this.


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