Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning New York Times bestselling writer of science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adults and children. Nnedi has received the World Fantasy, Nebula, Eisner, Locus and Lodestar Awards and multiple Hugo and Nommo Awards, amongst others, for her works.Her debut novel”Zahrah the Windseeker,”won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.

Nnedi has also written comics for Marvel, including Black Panther: “Long Live the King,” and “Wakanda Forever,” (featuring the Dora Milaje) and the Shuri series. Her book “Who Fears Death,” is being adapted for HBO, and many other books are being created for TV by Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and others.

Born Nnedimma Nkemdili (Nnedi) Okorafor in Cincinnati, Ohio, to immigrant parents from Igbo Nigeria. While her parents came to the U.S. with the intention to attend school and then return home, unrest in Nigeria kept them here to raise their family. The third of four children, Nnedi grew up in Chicago, where she worked to become an accomplished High School athlete, excelling in both tennis and track. Her passion for math and the sciences almost drove her to study entomology, but the spark for creative writing was ignited with just one college-level, creative writing class, and before long, her first novel was underway.

In addition to her dozens of novels and comic books, her much-anticipated graphic novel “Periwinkle the Space Cat,” is in the works, inspired by Nnedi’s own cat, Periwinkle Chukwu. Periwinkle, and his brother Neptune Onyedike are great inspirations, and keep Nnedi and her family entertained by the hour.

Nnedi is credited with introducing the term Africanfuturism, a science fiction genre, deeply-seated in African culture, committed to stories about only African people, currently living in Africa. She explains this as different than Afrofuturism, written by and featuring people of African descent, globally dispersed and living in multicultural societies, especially in the western hemisphere. Check out her award-winning Africanfuturism comic series “LaGuardia” as a great example.

Nnedi earned her bachelor’s from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her MSJ from Michigan State Universityand Masters and PhD in Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She is currently a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her daughter, Anyaugo.

Learn more at nnedi.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (@nnedi) and Instagram (@nnediokorafor).

Photo Credit: Colleen Durk

Get to know Nnedi Okorafor’s work and join us on November 8 to meet her in person!