Press Release: Cassava Republic signs Elnathan John

Cassava Republic is delighted and excited to announce the signing of Abuja-based writer Elnathan John.  Elnathan quit his job as a lawyer in November 2012 to focus on writing full-time. His work has been published in Per Contra, ZAM Magazine, Evergreen Review, Sentinel Nigeria and Chimurenga's The ChronicleIn 2013 he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize For African Writing for his story Bayan Layi. He also writes political satire for his weekly column for the Sunday Trust newspaper.

His first book with Cassava Republic is a compelling coming-of-age story about Dantala, a boy who starts out as a disciple of Quranic knowledge. Through Dantala’s maturing eyes and diary entries we are shown life as it is lived in northern Nigeria- the vagaries of familial care, violence and the nuances of political leadership. The novel uses fiction to give a finely textured exploration of the evolution of religious fundamentalism in the North and its complex relationship to politics and economics.  Northern Nigerians reading the book will find in the novel a deep recognition of their circumstances, whereas those from beyond will appreciate (sometimes for the first time) that Northern Nigeria is far from that monolithic existential space that prejudice and stereotype would have us believe.

On signing his first novel, Elnathan writes, “Cassava Republic Press has always been for me that movie you watch and like and you wish you could be in. You never make conscious moves to go to Hollywood because you believe it is out of reach. To use the cliche - because sometimes cliches are apt- it is a dream come true. I love the Cassava family and have no doubt that they are one of the very few companies who take publishing seriously and certainly one of the best in Nigeria. To join this family is both a challenge and a privilege. I am glad that I get to tell my stories on their platform.”  On the day of the signing, he also tweeted, “Expectedly I will spend less and less time talking about sex and bad mouthing sloppy journalists on Twitter. The novel beckons.”

Elnathan John’s novel will be published 2nd quarter 2015

For more information, please contact


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