Chika Unigwe

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Chika Nina Unigwe (Enugu, 1974) is a Nigerian-born author[1] and she writes in English and Dutch. In April 2014 she was selected for the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature.[2]

Chika Unigwe


Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Nigeria. She has a Ph.D in Literature (2004) from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Her debut novel, De Feniks, was published in 2005 by Meulenhoff and Manteau (of Amsterdam and Antwerp) and was shortlisted for the Vrouw en Kultuur debuutprijs for the best first novel by a female writer. She is also the author of two children's books published by Macmillan, London.

She has published short fiction in several anthologies, journals and magazines including Wasafiri (University of London), Moving Worlds (University of Leeds), Per Contra, Voices of the University of Wisconsin and Okike of the University of Nigeria.

In 2003, she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2004, she won the BBC Short story Competition and a Commonwealth Short Story Competition award. In the same year, her short story made the top 10 of the Million Writers Award for best online fiction. In 2005, she won the 3rd prize in the Equiano Fiction Contest. Her second novel, Fata Morgana, was published in Dutch in 2008 and will soon be released in English. Her first novel, De Feniks, was published in Dutch in September 2005 and it is the first book of fiction, written by a Flemish author of African origin. In 2009, Chika Unigwe's novel On Black Sisters' Street, about African prostitutes living and working in Belgium, was published in London by Jonathan Cape. On Black Sisters' Street won the 2012 Nigeria Prize for Literature, valued at $100,000 it is Africa's largest literary prize.[3][4]In autumn 2014 the University of Tübingen welcomed Chika Unigwe and her fellow authors Taiye Selasi, Priya Basil and Nii Ayikwei Parkes to this year's Writers' Lectureship, all of them authors representing what Selasi calls Afropolitan Literature.

In 2014, Unigwe published Black Messiah, a novel about Olaudah Equiano.

Unigwe lived in Turnhout, Belgium, with her husband and four children.[5] She emigrated to the United States in 2013.


  • Tear Drops, Enugu: Richardson Publishers, 1993.
  • Born in Nigeria, Enugu: Onyx Publishers, 1995.
  • A Rainbow for Dinner. Oxford: Macmillan, 2002. ISBN 978-0-333-95588-8
  • In the Shadow of Ala; Igbo women's writing as an act of righting. Dissertation, Leiden University, 2004.
  • Thinking of Angel, 2005.
  • Dreams, 2004.
  • The Phoenix. Lagos: Farafina Publishers, 2007. ISBN 978-978-48013-6-2
  • On Black Sisters' Street (translation of Fata Morgana). London: Jonathan Cape, 2009. ISBN 978-0-224-08530-4
  • Night Dancer. London, Jonathan Cape, 2012. ISBN 978-0-224-09383-5
  • Black Messiah (2014)


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