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Ani Kayode Somtochukwu on And Then He Sang a Lullaby with Roxane Gay

June 20, 2023

The Center For Fiction welcomed Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist, Hunger) to launch Ani Kayode Somtochukwu’s And Then He Sang a Lullaby, the inaugural title of her new publishing imprint, Roxane Gay Books at Grove Atlantic. Somtochukwu’s enthralling debut follows God-fearing track star August on his matriculation to university, where almost everything is going well–except that August cannot stop thinking about Segun, an openly gay student who works at the cyber cafe. In Nigeria, as a new anti-gay law is passed and Segun struggles to keep their new relationship behind closed doors, the pair fight to stay together with the power of love in a difficult landscape.

Gay and Somtochukwu discussed issues of craft, the influence of Somtochukwu’s queer liberation activism on the creation of the novel, the societal issues reflected in the story, and more.

In Conversation

  • Ani Kayode Somtochukwu (c) Ileleji Prince

    Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

    Ani Kayode Somtochukwu

    Ani Kayode Somtochukwu is an award-winning Nigerian writer and queer liberation activist. His work interrogates themes of queer identity, resistance, and liberation. His writings have appeared in literary magazines across Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America.

    Photo Credit: Ileleji Prince

  • Roxane Gay credit Reggie Cunningham - Vrinda Madan

    Roxane Gay

    Roxane Gay

    Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women, the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects. She also has a newsletter, The Audacity and in Spring 2023 started Roxane Gay Books an imprint of Grove Atlantic.

    Photo Credit: Reggie Cunningham