Author Spotlight: Akwaeke Emezi

Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi is something of marvel having already, by the age of 36, written 8 books across multiple genres, directed award winning short films and even released an album of music. Their wide range of works, which have won numerous awards, are frequently filled with heartfelt LGBTQ+ themes and explore topics of identity, love and Nigerian culture, making them a perfect author to check out this Pride Month. So let’s look at Emezi’s books!

Akwaeke Emezi was born in 1987 in Umuahia, the capital city of Abia State in southeastern Nigeria. They moved to the United States at the age of 16 to attend college, earning an MPA from New York University and then completing an MFA at Syracuse University. It was there that Emezi began working on their first novel, Freshwater, which they would complete back in Nigeria while attending a writing program under fellow Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Freshwater is an incredible novel, exploring Nigerian Igbo culture using the ogbanje, or evil spirits, to discuss topics of mental health and gender. After publishing Freshwater, Emezi was recognized as a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree.

Their second novel, The Death of Vivek Oji, is set during events surrounding the the death of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha in 1998 and entwines Nigerian social issues with the characters awakenings of identity and sexuality. With a trans main character, it also deals with the struggles of LGBTQ+ people in regions with strict laws and stigmas against LGBTQ+ identities.

Emezi has branched out and written many other books in many other genres. They have a memoir (Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir), a collection of poetry (Content Warning: Everything.), a romance novel (You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty), and two YA books (Pet and Bitter). Next month they will be releasing their 8th book, Little Rot, which will be set in Nigeria as well. A fantastic writer with an excellent focus on culture, identity and sexuality, Akwaeke Emezi is certainly an author to check out this Pride Month. And you can find many of there books here at Herrick District Library either on our shelves or through Hoopla and Libby.

June Author Spotlight: Akwaeke Emezi

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Check out the works of Nigerian author and poet Akwaeke Emezi. herrickDL adultpicks

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