book cover of Small Worlds
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Small Worlds

A novel by

2024 Dylan Thomas Prize
2024 Jhalak Prize (nominee)
2023 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction (nominee)

An exhilarating new novel about fathers and sons, faith and friendship from the award-winning, No.1 bestselling author of OPEN WATER

Dancing is the one thing that can solve Stephen's problems.

At Church with his family, the shimmer of Black hands raised in praise. With his band, making music speaking not just to their hardships, but their joys. Grooving with his best friend, so close their heads might touch. Dancing alone to his father's records, uncovering parts of a man he has never truly known. His youth, shame and sacrifice.

Stephen has only ever known himself in song. But what becomes of him when the music fades?

Set over the course of three summers, from South London to Ghana and back again, SMALL WORLDS is a novel about the worlds we build for ourselves. The worlds we live, dance and love within.


'Caleb Azumah Nelson's stunning second novel confirms his status as a literary star' Observer

'Beautiful, unforgettable and all-consuming' Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

SMALL WORLDS is a book for everyone . . . an uplifting symphony of a summer read' Times

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"In his beautiful new novel Nelson summons the sounds of Black Youth, love and discovery to the page. A celebration of the heart." - Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

"A novel that feels as intimate as it does expansive; Caleb Azumah Nelson has given to us a love story that goes beyond two people. Instead, there are no bounds to his exploration of exactly what the heart can feel. Beautiful, unforgettable and all-consuming." - Candice Carty-Williams

"Touching, heartfelt, and musically rich." - Diana Evans

"Small Worlds is a miracle of observation, of attention and attunement. Caleb Azumah Nelson writes prose that is unmatched in its musicality and sensitivity. A gorgeous, rhapsodic, wise novel." - Katie Kitamura

"The rhythms of Small Worlds are a feature of Nelson's quiet, particular ear and of a profound engagement with music. Nelson writes about closeness, with family, with lovers, with art, as careful, essential labour." - Raven Leilani

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