Writer in the Spotlight: Nnedi Okorafor

Photo of Nnedi Okorafor


Nnedi was just recently featured on the home page of Amazon as a writer to watch. Nnedi was a published finalist in Writers of the Future volume 18 in 2002. A published finalist is a contestant that doesn’t place as a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place winner, but the Coordinating Judge deems the submitted story as worthy of inclusion of the Writers of the Future book as he sees future in that writer’s work. Algis Budrys was our Coordinating Judge at that time, and he was definitely right about Nnedi.

Writers of the Future volume 18 Book Cover

Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of Nigerian descent known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled “Weapons of Mass Creation,” The New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning.” Her novels include Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax Award) and Long Juju Man (winner of the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa). Her novel, Who Fears Death (DAW Books, 2010), is a dark, gritty magical realist narrative that evenly combines African literature and fantasy/science fiction into a powerful story of genocide and of the woman who reshapes her world. It is currently in the film development process. For more info, go here. 

Nnedi has since had Kabu-Kabu, The Girl with the Magic Hands and Lagoon published. Lagoon came out as an audiobook from Audible earlier this year.

Nnedi holds a PhD in English and currently is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. Nnedi has been a judge for the Writers of the Future Contest since 2013.

Visit Nnedi at nnedi.com.

  • Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor Book Cover
  • The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor Book Cover
  • Long Juju Man by Nnedi Okorafor Book Cover
  • Kabu-Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor Book Cover
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor Book Cover
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor Book Cover