Chinelo Okparanta was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Among her many honors are two Lambda Literary Awards, the 2016 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award in Fiction, the 2016 inaugural Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award, and a 2014 O. Henry Award. She has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, the Kenyon Review, AGNI, and other venues, and was named one of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012. In 2017, Okparanta was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists.
MFOB FEATURED BOOK: Under the Udala Trees
Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is 11 when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living a lie. Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees uses one woman’s lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood and reconcile the dangers of living and loving openly.
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