Are you a rising lady boss in the creative space? Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American sci-fi author making waves in the industry.  Perhaps you have heard of her.  With many awards under her belt, she is living proof that a love for Nigeria and a wild imagination can set you apart for greatness.

Read on to learn her story:

Her origins

Nnedimma Nkemdili Okorafor was born in the United States to Nigerian parents from Imo State. She was raised in Chicago, US but stayed connected to her roots, visiting Nigeria often with her family.

How she discovered her passion

In high school, Nnedi was a star tennis player, respected amongst her peers in fact. Her sports dreams were sadly cut short though by a scoliosis diagnosis. It even threatened her ability to walk. As it turns out, it was during this time that her passion for writing grew as she wrote stories for fun during recuperation.  She would go ahead to become a PhD holder in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago and Professor of Creative Writing at Chicago State University.  She was also an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the New York State University, Buffalo.

Her accomplishments

Her debut adult novel, Who Fears Death, received the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel 2011 Tiptree Honor Book and was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award. She’s gone ahead to write commendable books like Akata Witch, Lagoon and Binti.

Her favourite books

Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, The Palmwine Drinkered by Amos Tutola and Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died.


What the future holds

George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame has plans to adapt her novel, Who Fears Death, for TV.  As if that isn’t cool enough, Nnnedi is also working on a comic with Marvel, an eight-page piece for the forthcoming Venomverse anthology. It’s set for release in September 2017, so be on the lookout and #SupportYourOwn.




Sources: Vanguard and Nnedi’s official website

Header image credit: Chicago Magazine


Write A Comment