"I wrote it spiritfirst, without disguise," bestselling author Akwaeke Emezi wrote of their memoir, Dear Senthuran. Through candid, intimate correspondence with friends, lovers, and family, Emezi traces the unfolding of a self and the unforgettable journey of a creative spirit stepping into power in the human world. Their story weaves through transformative decisions about their gender and body, their precipitous path to success as a writer, and the turmoil of relationships on an emotional, romantic, and spiritual plane. Akwaeke Emezi speaks with Saidiya Hartman about their revelatory account of storytelling, self, and survival.
Curated by Amy Zion (Faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College), Frieze New York Talks feature internationally renowned artists in conversation with leading authors. [WATCH HERE]
Writer and video artist Akwaeke Emezi joined visual artist ruby onyinyechi amanze for a talk on multiple and blurred Black realities—aliens, ogbanje, and alternate selves. amanze created the cover art for Emezi's debut novel Freshwater, and the two artists discussed creative process as nonhumans, visibility, placelessness, translating realities, and the farce of authenticity. (WATCH HERE)
"Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist. Freshwater is Emezi's debut novel and one of the most anticipated books of 2018. The partially autobiographical story follows a young person, Ada, from Nigeria to American college, where a traumatic event reveals the hidden powers of the spirits within her. Emezi discussed the novel with Glory Edim, founder of the book club and digital platform, Well-Read Black Girl. She traced the origin story behind Freshwater, decolonizing identities, and navigating transition." (LISTEN HERE)
Whether it’s multiple identities within one character; the different perspectives that drive a sweeping, historical novel; or the range of voices that bridge the worlds of fiction and poetry—the works of these authors deal with ideas of balance and turbulence, cacophony and quiet. Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, Bangladeshi Arif Anwar’s The Storm, and Jamaican Windham-Campbell Prize recipient Lorna Goodison’s stories and poems open our eyes to the myriad dimensions of the self and the world. Moderated by Emmanuel Iduma (A Stranger’s Pose).
Join us for a reading with two of this spring’s most exciting literary fiction debuts that explore the metaphysics of identity, mental health, and migration. Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater (Grove, 2018) follows the story of a young Nigerian named Ada born “with one foot on the other side” who develops separate selves. Mira T. Lee’s Everything Here is Beautiful (Pamela Dorman Books, 2018) alternates the between the perspectives of two Asian American sisters grappling with the the loss of a parent, illness, and the strains of intimacy. In conversation with TANAÏS, the author of Bright Lines.