Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Nigeria. She has a Ph.D in Literature 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.
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.