Open Water

Caleb Azumah Nelson

£9.99

WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD AND A NO.1 BESTSELLER IN THE TIMES

‘A tender and touching love story, beautifully told’ Observer


‘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 by 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 by 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, by of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

‘A very touching and heartfelt book’ Diana Evans, award-winning by of ORDINARY PEOPLE

‘A lyrical modern love story, brilliant on music and art, race and London life, I enjoyed it hugely’ David Nicholls, by 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 by 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 THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2021
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER OF THE BAD FORM BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR
LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE, THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE AND THE GORDON BURN PRIZE
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD ‘5 UNDER 35’ HONOREE

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