An urgent, millennial love story, in the vein of Sally Rooney’s NORMAL PEOPLE, but from a Black male perspective, OPEN WATER will appeal to readers of Ocean Vuong’s ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS, ORDINARY PEOPLE by Diana Evans, Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN, and Zadie Smith’s NW, as well as fans of early James Baldwin, the work of Ta-Nahesi Coates, and the Oscar-winning film MOONLIGHT. OPEN WATER explores big themes— race, class, sexuality, masculinity, and what it means to be seen—and could not be more relevant today. 26-year-old Nelson’s star is already on the rise: his short story “Pray” is a finalist for the BBC Short Story Award (previous alumni of the award include Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel and Jon McGregor) and was broadcast on air narrated by Zadie Smith’s brother, rapper and actor, Ben Bailey-Smith. The BBC will also run a series of Nelson’s original photographs commissioned especially for the story. Nelson has connections with literary stars like Paul Beatty, Raymond Antrobus, Candice Carty-Williams, Kei Miller, Eley Williams, and Lucy Caldwell to name but a few and we expect support from them and writers like Bernadine Evaristo, Nadia Owusu, Brandon Taylor, and more This is the British literary debut of 2021: rights were acquired by Vintage UK in a hotly contested nine-way auction and they will publish as their lead title in February 2021. Rights also sold in Itlay to Atlantide and Russia to Eksmo, with Grove nimbly acquiring early in a preempt. Nelson has nonfiction work forthcoming in THE WHITE REVIEW (Fall 2020) and in Spring 2021 will begin work on an audio installation commissioned by The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, in collaboration with BBC Sounds, Chisenhale Gallery and DAZED Magazine. (The installation, centered on the intimacies of a house party from a Black British lens, will be on physical display in the museum and will also run online).