"There is nothing in the world like this book.”

- Lesley Arimah, author of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky


Longlisted by Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, shortlisted for Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, named a Most Anticipated Book of The Year by The New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly, Teen Vogue, LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, i-D/Vice, Harpers Bazaar, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Goodreads, Vulture, An Other Magazine, Lithub, The Millions, Ms Magazine, Open Country and CNN amongst others.





In the bustling streets and cloistered homes of Lagos, a cast of vivid characters—some haunted, some defiant—navigate danger, demons, and love in a quest to lead true lives.


As in Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits. They are those who inhabit transient spaces, who make their paths and move invisibly, who embrace apparitions, old vengeances and alternative realities. Eloghosa Osunde’s brave, fiercely inventive novel traces a wild array of characters for whom life itself is a form of resistance: a driver for a businessman with the power to command life and death; a legendary fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her world; a transgender woman and the groundbreaking love of her parent. As their lives intertwine—in bustling markets and underground clubs, churches and hotel rooms—vagabonds are seized and challenged by spirits who command the city’s dark energy. Whether running from danger, meeting with secret lovers, finding their identities, or vanquishing their shadowselves, Osunde’s characters confront and support one another, before converging for the once-in-a-lifetime gathering that gives the book its unexpectedly joyous conclusion.
Blending unvarnished realism with myth and fantasy, Vagabonds! is a vital work of imagination that takes us deep inside the hearts, minds, and bodies of a people in duress—and in triumph.


You don’t read this novel. You swan dive into its sea of gods and monsters, lost girls, violent boys, and well-behaved people both righteous and wicked. And when you finally surface, that sound will be you, gasping in wonder.” 

 —Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

A triumph of a book. In Vagabonds! you will discover queer people finding ways to love each other in a society that outlaws queerness, and an explosive portrait of Nigeria that will blow your mind—in prose that feels so alive it practically vibrates off the page. A masterpiece.

- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water

VAGABONDS!  is a feast of a book, a marvellous ode to spirits and outsiders that is irreverent (and painfully funny) while being serious enough to drill a hole in one’s chest. I feel a fury here—a comforting fury, an I-see-you fury. There is nothing in the world like this book.

- Lesley Arimah, author of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky

VAGABONDS! offers a dazzling, hypnotic portrait of lives lived on the margins. Through Eloghosa Osunde’s supreme imagination, the binary of reality and fantasy is shattered in poetic, kaleidoscopic color. In the roots of the city of Lagos, and at the pith of its most resilient characters, remains an unfettered truth: there is community even – especially – for the displaced, and in the struggle of outsiders lives the most radical potential for hope.’ 

-T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Full of surprising, tender, biting language, Eloghosa Osunde’s VAGABONDS! sets a stage where gods play personal games with human lives. For its shapeshifting images, for its honesty, for the opportunity to sit with joy and discomfort – both necessary mortal things – this novel astounded me’ 

- Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat

"I'm in awe of Osunde's writing and have loved reading her column for The Paris Review, Melting Clocks. I can't wait for others to delve into the joyous, defiant world she has rendered for her debut novel, Vagabonds.

Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of Open Water

Electrifying. A fierce, compulsively engaging and striking debut.

- Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch




Publisher's Weekly 




A vibrant blend of big-city life and contemporary mythology.” 

—The New York Times

"If you read one debut novel in 2022, this should be it. With care, compassion and a gimlet eye for hypocrisy, Osunde builds a universe from Lagos, Nigeria’s little-seen citizens... Magical realism works to great effect in connecting these stories, especially when spirits Tatafo and Èkó are involved, and readers will remain rapt to the end."

- LA Times

"The marginalized residents of Lagos in this début novel rely on increasingly fantastical forms of disguise in order to survive: lies, masks, bodysuits. But true salvation comes from self-revelation and the community that it forges... In a world that seeks to consign to the shadows those who don’t conform, Osunde’s vagabonds act as an illuminating force for one another."

- The New Yorker

"Partly narrated by an omnipresent monitor - is it the city's essence, a god, the devil? - who is privy to the lives of a huge cast of characters... each chapter feels like a complete story of its own, with larger than life, mostly queer individuals who lose or find themselves in light of the fate they're dealt and amidst relationships that destroy or strengthen them. An arresting and dazzling tale with a surprising elixir of lyricism and pidgin… unsettling yet wondrous.

- Booklist 

“Osunde’s magnificent magical realist debut crafts a mosaic of struggle and pain in Lagos held together by Tatafo, a supernatural choruslike figure who does the bidding of “cityspirit” Eko... The gorgeous, redemptive ending pulls off a triumphant celebration of queer survival. Throughout, Osunde crafts compassionate prose and seamlessly combines magic and grit. This is a stunning introduction to a bold new writer.”

- Publishers Weekly

"Osunde's partly magical realist novel is imbued with this rich sense of the kinetic and the possible. As intimated by the titular exclamation mark, it is a loud work...VAGABONDS! is a kind of queer phantasmagoria."

- The Guardian

"A compassionate and ultimately inspiring touch... Osunde revels in the joy of storytelling to render a city and its outsiders in all their flaws and glory."

- Kirkus

"Osunde’s prose toes the line between myth and unexpected realism, making magic and ghosts feel within the reader’s grasp." 

- Vulture

"Vagabonds! is a book that forces you to pause and contemplate other experiences. It is an excellent example of how to create a book that is beyond all categories simply true. It is, and will be a Bible."

- Olongo Africa

"Eloghosa Osunde’s gasp-inducing novel takes us to the Lagos streets with an ensemble of misfits and vagabonds, each with their own stories of queerness, personal demons, all-consuming love, and debauchery. Osunde captures the lives of outsiders with spirit and tenderness, blending soft-eyed realism with the wacky and fantastical.

-An Other Magazine 

"Every year promises the birth of the next literary superstar as debut novels fill bookshop shelves, and 2022 is no different. Coming with early acclaim from Marlon James, Eloghosa Osunde's VAGABONDS! is an exceptional debut, taking on queerness, capitalism and the societal vagabonds of Lagos' streets."

- i_D/Vice

"A novel as vivid and varied as the city itself."

- Harper's Bazaar

"A charged novel that resembles nothing and carves out its own specific beauty."


"A narrative voice reminiscent of early Salman Rushdie… The novel's final third showcases the greatest strength of "Vagabonds!" — its ability to convey the resilience and joy of its nonbinary, trans and gay characters, even under these oppressive conditions…the book's soaring conclusion reads like the uplifting choral finale of a rousing musical."

- Star Tribune

"In Vagabonds!, readers get the great satisfaction of watching those on the outside intertwine with one another and take command of this mystical being that is controlling Lagos. It brings Lagos and its people, its vagabonds, to life with all its shadows and glittering light."


"Osunde is especially good at conjuring the depth and warmth of ordinary intimacies, idyllic scenes of queer life that make one’s throat catch."

- NYT Book Review

"A wild, phantasmagorical portrait of a city... driven insane by materialism and inequality."

- Wall Street Journal

"A bold new voice for bold new generations."

- LA Times Book Review


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