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The Shadow of a Smile by Kachi A. Ozumba

The Shadow of a Smile

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Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2010.

The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott. Click here to find out more.

A compelling story looking in to the centre of the Nigerian judicial and prison system. Great characters and insight in to the real workings of the country make this an unputdownable book of discovery. Fascinating and entertaining in equal measures.


The Shadow of a Smile by Kachi A. Ozumba

Torn from his father and a loving sister, the young student Zuba is imprisoned for a crime he has not even thought about committing. His misfortune: to live in a world where corruption is rife and honest and law-abiding people are crushed by the wheels of a blind, unscrupulous bureaucracy. What seems at first to be an irksome judiciary misunderstanding gradually becomes a journey through the hell of Nigerian prisons. Only by showing the utmost daring and integrity will Zuba be able to regain his freedom.


Kachi A Ozumba's The Shadow of a Smile is a brilliantly funny and gripping novel that examines the corruption and hypocrisy within the Nigerian justice system. - The Observer

Ozumba's gift for capturing detail is astonishing, if not so surprising for someone who has been a victim of this system. - The Independent

Kachi A. Ozumba not only writes about a big important subject - corruption and imprisonment in Nigeria - he does so with consummate skill and humour. Ozumba has a brilliant ear for dialogue: he brings Nigeria bubbling to the page. At times poignant, lyrical and often very funny, Kachi A. Ozumba is a talent to watch out for. -- Jackie Kay

About the Author

Kachi A. Ozumba

Kachi A. Ozumba was born in Nigeria in 1972. He is a winner of the Art Council England’s Decibel Penguin Short Story Prize and of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and appeared in many journals and anthologies. He lives in Newcastle where he is pursuing a research degree in literature/creative writing while working on his next novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th March 2010


Kachi A. Ozumba

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Alma Books Ltd




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