BIOGRAPHY

Akwaeke Emezi is a writer and video artist based in liminal spaces and a 2018 National Book Foundation '5 Under 35' honoree. Their debut autobiographical novel FRESHWATER is currently a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. Translated into seven languages, FRESHWATER was a New York Times Notable Book as well as a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize and the PEN/Hemingway Award. It was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence, the Women's Prize for Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, The Wellcome Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and named a Best Book of the Year by the New Yorker, NPR, the Chicago Public Library, and Buzzfeed. FRESHWATER debuted as an Indies Introduce Title, receiving rave reviews from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and the LA Times, among others. 

Emezi's first young adult novel, PET, will be published in September 2019 by Make Me a World/Random House Children's Books and is available for pre-order now. Their sophomore adult novel, THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books, and their short story 'Who Is Like God' won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Emezi was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and profiled in the February 2018 issue of Vogue Magazine (Modern Families With A Cause), and their video art series THE UNBLINDING premiered at Gavin Brown's enterprise in Harlem.

Born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, Emezi was awarded a Global Arts Fund grant in 2017 for the video art in their project The Unblinding, and a Sozopol Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction. Their writing has been published by T Magazine, Dazed Magazine, The Cut, Buzzfeed, Granta Online, Vogue.com, and Commonwealth Writers, among others. Their memoir work was included in The Fader's 'Best Culture Writing of 2015' ('Who Will Claim You?') and their experimental short UDUDEAGU won the Audience Award for Best Short Experimental at the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival.

Emezi is currently making video art and working on their fifth novel. For their upcoming events, click here.

CV

"I stood at the border, stood at the edge and claimed it as central. Claimed it as central, and let the rest of the world move over to where I was." — Toni Morrison

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