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World Literature: Samuel Kọ́láwọlé (Nigeria) “The Road to the Salt Sea”

August 11 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT

Nigerian author visits City of Asylum to share “wrenching and luminous” debut novel

Debut novelist Samuel Kọ́láwọlé visits city of Asylum to share The Road to the Salt Sea, a searing exploration of the global migration crisis that moves from Nigeria to Libya to Italy. The novel follows Able God, a man working for low pay at a four-star hotel where he must flash his “toothpaste-white smile” for wealthy guests. 

Able’s ordinary life is upended when an early morning room service order leads him to interfere with Akudo, a sex worker involved with a powerful but dangerous hotel guest. Suddenly caught in a web of violence, guilt, and fear, Able must run to save himself—a journey that leads him into the desert with a group of drug-addled migrants, headed by a charismatic religious leader calling himself Ben Ten. The travelers’ dream of reaching Europe—and a new life—is shattered when they fall prey to human traffickers, suffer starvation, and find themselves on the precipice of death, fighting for their lives and their freedom. 

Suspenseful, incisive, and illuminating, The Road to the Salt Sea is a story of family, fate, religion, survival, the failures of the Nigerian class system, and what often happens to those who seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Purchase your own copy of Samuel’s book, The Road to the Salt Sea, at City of Asylum Bookstore and have it signed in person

About the Author:

Samuel Kọláwọlé was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. His work has appeared in AGNI, Georgia Review, The Hopkins Review, Gulf Coast, Washington Square Review, Harvard Review, Image Journal, and other literary publications. He has received numerous residencies and fellowships, and has been a finalist for the Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize, shortlisted for UK’s The First Novel Prize, and won an Editor-Writer Mentorship from the Word. He studied at the University of Ibadan and holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University, South Africa, is a graduate of the MFA in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and earned his PhD in English and Creative Writing from Georgia State University. He has taught creative writing in Africa, Sweden, and the United States, and currently teaches fiction writing as an Assistant Professor of English and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is open for dinner from 5-9pm. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

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August 11
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT
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City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
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Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
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