BIOGRAPHY

Akwaeke Emezi is a writer and visual artist based in liminal spaces. A 2018 National Book Foundation '5 Under 35' honoree, Emezi's sophomore adult novel, THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books on August 4, 2020 and is available for pre-order now. It has been named one of the most anticipated books of the year by The New York Times, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, BuzzFeed, and more. Born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, Emezi is currently working on their sixth novel. 

Their debut YA novel PET (Make Me a World/Random House Children's Books) was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and a Lambda Literary Award, as well as an Indie Next selection. Praised in The New York Times, it received a Stonewall Honor, a Walter Honor, and an Otherwise Award Honor after debuting with five starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Bookpage, and Bulletin. PET was also named a 2019 Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Apple, and Amazon, among others. Upon its publication, Emezi was featured in Kirkus Reviews and profiled in The New York Times.

Emezi's debut autobiographical novel FRESHWATER (Grove Atlantic) is in early development as a TV series at FX, with Emezi writing and executive producing with Tamara P. Carter. Translated into ten languages, FRESHWATER won the 2019 Otherwise Award (formerly the Tiptree) and the Nommo Award. It was a New York Times Notable Book as well as a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and a Lambda Literary Award. FRESHWATER 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 2018 Best Book of the Year by the New Yorker, NPR, the Chicago Public Library, and Buzzfeed. It 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 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. Their short story 'Who Is Like God' won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.

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 film UDUDEAGU won the Audience Award for Best Short Experimental at the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival. 

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"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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