Uwem Akpan (born May 19, 1971) is a Nigerian writer. He is the author of Say You’re One of Them (2008), a collection of five stories (each set in a different African country) published by Little, Brown & Company. It won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and was picked by the Oprah Winfrey Book Club on September 17, 2009.
Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria; his parents were teachers. He and his three brothers grew up speaking both English and Annang. He joined the Jesuit order at the age of 19, in 1990 in Nigeria. After studying humanities and philosophy from Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he got a theology degree from the Catholic University of East Africa in Kenya. He became a priest on July 19, 2003; he later earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at the University of Michigan in the United States.
In 2009 Oprah Winfrey recommended Uwem Akpan's Say You’re One of Them as her 63rd influential book club selection. Akpan said he was humbled to learn his debut collection of short stories had caught Winfrey's eye. Winfrey said that Say You're One of Them (published by Little, Brown, 2008), "left [her] stunned and profoundly moved." The five short stories give voice to an African child growing up in the face of incredible adversity.
- Say You're One of Them. Hachette. 2008. ISBN 978-0-316-11378-6.
- Antes de ir a Gabón. Intermón Oxfam Editorial. ISBN 978-84-8452-654-4.
- Charles McGrath, "Channeling the Voices of Africa’s Lost Children", New York Times, July 3, 2008.
- National Catholic Reporter, 2 October 2009, 4.
- "100 Greatest Movies, TV Shows, Albums, Books, Characters, Scenes, Episodes, Songs, Dresses, Music Videos, and Trends that entertained us over the past 10 years", Entertainment Weekly (1079/1080), pp. 74-84. December 11, 2009.
- www.UwemAkpan.com, author's official website.
- Say You're One of Them, official website (includes excerpt, author bio, etc.).
- "As Africa’s Horrors Rage, Suffer the Little Children", New York Times, review by Janet Maslin, June 27, 2008.
- "Unflinching Evil in 'Say You're One of Them'", NPR review by Maureen Corrigan, June 19, 2008.
- Book Review of Say You're One of Them, Thinking Faith, reviewed by Isidore Bonabom SJ, a Jesuit priest from Ghana. 30 September 2008.
- Book Review of Say You're One of Them, Joseph Adero Ngala, Director of People for Peace in Africa (PPA) in Nairobi, Kenya. This review originally was published in Colleagues Home & Abroad Regional News (PPA) on 9 September 2008.