Akwaeke Emezi

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Akwaeke Emezi
Akwaeke Emezi (cropped).png
Akwaeke Emezi
Born (1987-06-06) June 6, 1987 (age 34)
EducationNew York University (MPA)
OccupationWriter
Known forFreshwater
Pet
The Death of Vivek Oji
Websitewww.akwaeke.com

Akwaeke Emezi is a Nigerian lgbo and Tamil writer and video artist, best known for their 2018 debut novel Freshwater.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born to an Igbo Nigerian father, and Indian Tamil mother, Emezi grew up in Aba, Nigeria.[3] Emezi and their sister Yagazie[4] used storytelling to escape the riots, dictatorship, and dangerous reality of their childhoods.[5] Emezi was a "voracious" reader during childhood and they began writing short stories when they were five years old.[6][7]

They received their MPA from New York University.[8]

Career[edit]

Freshwater[edit]

Emezi's debut novel Freshwater tells the semi-autobiographical story of the protagonist, Ada, who is an ogbanje. Emezi explores their Igbo heritage's spirituality and gender alongside those of Western construction and invites their audience to think critically about this spirit/body binary.[2][9]

Freshwater received significant critical acclaim[10][11][12] and was longlisted for numerous prestigious awards.[13][14] [15][16] Emezi was also recognized as a 2018 National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree.[17]

In 2019, Freshwater was nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction — the first time a non-binary transgender author has been nominated for the prize. Women's prize judge Professor Kate Williams said that the panel did not know Emezi was non-binary when the book was chosen, but she said Emezi was happy to be nominated.[18] Non-binary commentator Vic Parsons wrote that the nomination raised uncomfortable questions, asking: "would a non-binary author who was assigned male at birth have been longlisted? I highly doubt it."[19] After the nomination, it was announced that the Women's Prize Trust was working on new guidelines for transgender, non-binary, and genderfluid authors.[20] The Women's Prize later asked for Emezi's "sex as defined by law" when submitting The Death of Vivek Oji for inclusion, and Emezi chose to withdraw calling the requirement transphobic and specifically exclusionary to trans women.[21]

Other works[edit]

Pet, released on 10 September 2019, is about a transgender teenager named Jam living in a world where adults refuse to acknowledge the existence of monsters.[22]

Emezi signed a two-book deal with Riverhead Books. The first, The Death of Vivek Oji, came out on 4 August 2020 and was a New York Times best seller.[23] The second is a memoir entitled Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Emezi uses the pronouns they/them/theirs.[25][26] They experience multiplicity and consider themselves an ogbanje.[26][27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Won[edit]

Nominated[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Freshwater: A Novel, 2018.[44]
  • Pet, 2019.[45]
  • The Death of Vivek Oji, 2020.[46]
  • Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, 2021.[47]
  • Bitter, 2022.[48]
  • Content Warning: Everything, 2022. [49]
  • You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, 2022. [50]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Literary Birthday – 6 June – Akwaeke Emezi". Writers Write. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  2. ^ a b Mzezewa, Tariro (2018-02-26). "In This Debut Novel, a College Student Hears Voices". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  3. ^ "Books We Love: Inside The Bubble With Akwaeke Emezi | Death, Sex & Money". WNYC Studios. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  4. ^ Leibovitz, Annie (11 January 2018). "5 Families Who Are Changing The World as We Know It". Vogue. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  5. ^ "39: Akwaeke Emeziwriter and video artist". Mythos Magazine. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  6. ^ "A Spirit Born into a Human Body: Talking with Akwaeke Emezi". The Rumpus.net. 2018-02-21. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  7. ^ "Akwaeke Emezi: 'I'd read everything – even the cereal box'". the Guardian. 2018-10-20. Retrieved 2021-09-26.
  8. ^ Freshwater | Grove Atlantic.
  9. ^ "In 'Freshwater,' A College Student Learns To Live With Separate Selves". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  10. ^ Waldman, Katy (2018-02-26). "A Startling Début Novel Explores the Freedom of Being Multiple". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  11. ^ Adébáyò, Ayòbámi (2018-11-15). "Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi review – a remarkable debut". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  12. ^ Straight, Susan (16 February 2018). "A dazzling, devastating novel: 'Freshwater' by Akwaeke Emezi". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  13. ^ a b "The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize". www.bklynlibrary.org. 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  14. ^ Times, The New York (2018-11-19). "100 Notable Books of 2018". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  15. ^ Waldman, Katy (2018-12-04). "The Best Books of 2018". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  16. ^ "NPR's Book Concierge Our Guide To 2018's Great Reads". apps.npr.org. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  17. ^ Schaub, Michael (2018-09-24). "National Book Foundation unveils this year's '5 Under 35' picks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  18. ^ a b Cain, Sian (2019-03-04). "Non-binary trans author nominated for Women's prize for fiction". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  19. ^ "Opinion: Be careful before celebrating the recognition of Akwaeke Emezi". The Independent. 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  20. ^ Wood, Heloise. "Women's Prize to formulate new policy around gender criteria". TheBookSeller.com. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  21. ^ Flood, Alison (2020-10-05). "Akwaeke Emezi shuns Women's prize over request for details of sex as defined 'by law'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2021-08-26.
  22. ^ "Pet by Akwaeke Emezi: 9780525647072 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  23. ^ "The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi: 9780525541608 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  24. ^ Anderson, Tre'vell (May 27, 2021). "Akwaeke Emezi Is Writing New Possibilities Into Being". TIME. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  25. ^ Bausells, Marta (21 February 2018). "The Nonbinary Author Centering African Narratives Erased by Colonialism". Vice.
  26. ^ a b Emezi, Akwaeke (2018-01-19). "Transition". The Cut. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  27. ^ Whitehouse, Matthew (2018-12-24). "akwaeke emezi: the 'freshwater' author standing on the edge and claiming it as central". i-D. Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  28. ^ "Akwaeke Emezi Bio: Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo/Tamil... - globalartsfund". Global Arts Fund 2017. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  29. ^ "Global Arts Fund Archives - Page 2 of 4". Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  30. ^ "Who Is Like God". Granta Magazine. 2017-06-13. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  31. ^ "Announcing the 2019 Nommo Award Winners". 25 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Nommo 2019: Novel Nominations - African Speculative Fiction Society". www.africansfs.com. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  33. ^ Lothian, Alexis (2020-04-11). "Akwaeke Emezi wins 2019 Otherwise Award! Honor List Announced « Otherwise Award". Otherwise Award. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  34. ^ "2020 Walter Awards". We Need Diverse Books. 2020-01-21. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  35. ^ "AKWAEKE EMEZI". Aspen Words. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  36. ^ "7 Tips on Writing Fiction from Aspen Words Literary Prize Nominees". The Aspen Institute. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  37. ^ "2019 PEN/Hemingway Award Finalists Announced | The Hemingway Society". www.hemingwaysociety.org. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  38. ^ "Akwaeke Emezi". Women's Prize for Fiction. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  39. ^ "The Center for Fiction". www.centerforfiction.org. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  40. ^ "Andrew Carnegie Medals Longlist | Awards & Grants". www.ala.org. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  41. ^ "Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists". locusmag.com. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  42. ^ "The 2019 National Book Awards Finalists Announced". National Book Foundation. 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  43. ^ "Shortlist for Dylan Thomas Prize Is Revealed". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  44. ^ https://www.akwaeke.com/freshwater
  45. ^ https://www.akwaeke.com/pet
  46. ^ https://www.akwaeke.com/the-death-of-vivek-oji
  47. ^ https://www.akwaeke.com/dear-senthuran
  48. ^ https://www.akwaeke.com/bitter
  49. ^ "https://www.akwaeke.com/content-warning-everything". External link in |title= (help)
  50. ^ "https://www.akwaeke.com/fool-of-death". External link in |title= (help)

External links[edit]