The Unfortunates

By J K Chukwu

‘A gripping call to action—and a daring triumph of a novel’ ADORAH NWORAH

‘Masterfully portrays the splintering of the mind in its most striking, unfiltered form’ AIWANOSE ODAFEN

‘A playful, powerful debut’ ZAKIYA DALILA HARRIS


A lot is happening to Me. Will Me survive?

Sahara is a student at one of the most elite universities in America – and she is Not Okay. Her grades are subpar, she’s not Nigerian enough for her family, and her long-term Life Partner* is threatening to take over. When she’s not contemplating killing herself or the wealthy white students around her, she’s receiving an increasing number of ‘Unfortunate News’ emails, which inform her that the few Black classmates she has are disappearing.

Will Sahara end up joining the ranks of ‘The Unfortunates’, or can she avoid becoming yet another statistic?

Written in the style of a thesis, J K Chukwu’s highly original debut is a darkly funny and biting take on the campus novel, set in the mind of a young Black woman who is losing hers.


Author: J K Chukwu
Format: ebook
Release Date: 03 Aug 2023
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-847802-5
J K Chukwu is a writer and visual artist from the Midwest. She holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and was a 2019 Lambda Fellow. Her work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, and TAYO

”'Teeming with dark humor and astute observations about academia through the lens of a queer, Black woman, Chukwu’s The Unfortunates is a gripping call to action” - and a daring triumph of a novel' Adorah Nworah

'Masterfully portrays the splintering of the mind in its most striking, unfiltered form, blending humour and resilience… a work that's refreshing in its uniqueness. We would benefit from more like it' Aiwanose Odafen -

”'[A] playful, powerful debut… A poignant reminder of how tight a hold mental illness can have” - Zakiya Dalila Harris, New York Times Book Review

”'Meticulously and brilliantly balances tough topics like depression with biting comedy, crafting a narrative about a young woman trying to survive and help others do the same” - Shondaland

”'An extraordinary coming-of-age novel, with a fascinating protagonist and a tone that is just right for her material. The book’s dark atmosphere is enhanced by the presence of the author's own black-and-white illustrations. The result is a tour-de-force” - Booklist

”'Formidable…powerful. This blistering anthem brims with rage and hope” - Publishers Weekly

”'A powerful call to arms by a promising young writer who is not afraid to take risks, and for that we are very fortunate indeed” - Bookpage

”'Required reading…What do you do when your fellow Black co-eds are disappearing, and you fear you’re next? Sahara, a queer, half-Nigerian student at an elite college, pens her opus, a no-holds-barred thesis to the racist institution that has stolen a part of her soul, but she and her community of BIPOC women won’t give up without a fight” - Ebony


'I have not been able to put this book down' -

'A very powerful, dark, upsetting, devastating, enthralling… IMPORTANT read' -

'Powerful and razor-sharp' -

'One of the most unique reading experiences I've had in a while… feels one-of-a-kind from start to finish' -