THE PRIVATE JOYS OF NNENNA MALONEY is a comic novel about Nnenna, a half-Nigerian teenager living in modern-day Manchester with her mother Joanie.
As Nnenna approaches womanhood she starts trying to connect with her Igbo-Nigerian culture. Her once close and tender relationship with her mother becomes strained as she asks probing questions about her father who she's never met and whom her mother who refuses to discuss.
Each chapter begins with a biblical quote which harks back to the beginning of Maurice and Joanie's relationship - meeting in a church group are in a cafe in Cambridge - but is really Nnenna's diary headings which she is trying to hide from her mother's prying eyes.
Nnenna is asking big questions of how to 'be' when she doesn't know who she is as Joanie wonders, how to truly love when she has never been loved?
Okechukwu Nzelu brings us a novel about two women, big questions and lots of laughter in a unique and distinctive new voice.
Okechukwu Nzelu is a writer and teacher. He was born in Manchester in 1988, read English at Girton College, Cambridge and completed the Teach First programme. His work has been published in Agenda, PN Review, E-magazine and The Literateur and his essay 'Troubles with God' will be published in the anthology Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space (Trapeze, 2019). In 2015 he was the recipient of a New Writing North Award for The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, which is his debut novel.