Sarah House, Ifeanyi Ajaegbo (Nigeria)
IFEANYI AJAEGBO is a development consultant and communications practitioner who lives and works in Port Harcourt in Nigeria. His writing has won awards and fellowships, including the 2005 African regional prize for the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Sarah House is his first novel.
Nita wakes up one night to discover herself in a dark world very different from the life of opportunities promised to her by Slim, the man she loved and trusted to take her away from the small island town of Opobo, Nigeria. Soon she realises she is a slave, bought and sold without her consent and forced into a life of prostitution and sleazy strip clubs.
Every day Nita walks a tightrope of survival surrounded by vicious pimps and thugs. She meets Tega, a fellow slave lured into prostitution by Slim; she is sold to Madam, who runs Sarah House and makes money from young girls and children; she finds favour with Chief, an influential politician who provides protection for Madam’s illicit business in human trafficking, and she must survive Lothar, a renegade porn film maker. Life in this nightmare world gets more complicated when Nita meets pretty, young Damka and is approached by a police detective working undercover.
When Damka disappears and Nita discovers the child’s bloodied clothes in a room in Sarah House, she knows she has to work with the police in spite of the dangers to her own life.
He is on the shortlist for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.