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June 2, 2010 / schulerbooks

Praise for Nnedi Okorafor’s new novel precedes tonight’s Lansing event!

NNEDI OKORAFOR Author Talk & Signing – Schuler Books of Lansing

7 p.m. Wednesday, June 2

2820 Towne Center Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

I am extra-geeked for our event tonight with Nnedi Okorafor for the release of Who Fears Death, her first foray into the adult book market (she won multiple awards internationally for her previous young adult titles Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker)!

Who Fears Death is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, melding African storytelling, post-apocalyptica and magical realism within a larger exploration of the current political and cultural climate of Africa. I was absolutely absorbed, as was our general manager, who has been raving about the title as well!

Nnedi has managed to sweep the local book publicity with a Meet The Author highlight in the Lansing State Journal and full-page articles in the Lansing City Pulse and Revue Mid-Michigan!  Check out some highlights below and click over to the full articles:

Aliens in Nigeria

Written by Joanna Dykhuis (Revue Mid-Michigan)

“I’m hard to categorize,” says Nnedi Okorafor, international award-winning author. Judging by Okorafor’s fourth and latest novel, Who Fears Death, that statement seems about right.

Described as “a dark, gritty magical realist novel,” Who Fears Death is set in a post-nuclear holocaust future as genocide sweeps through a region of Africa. The story revolves around the protagonist Onyesonwu whose ancient name asks the question “Who fears death?”

If it sounds a little intense, it’s because it is….

Though this is not Okorafor’s only novel, it is her first venture into adult writing. Her debut novel was Zahrah the Windseeker in 2005 which won numerous awards. The Shadow Speaker came in 2007 and in 2009 she published Long Juju Man, a children’s book that won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa.

Though these stories are not works in a series, Okorafor maintains that all four books are related.

“Their worlds are connected,” she says. “Everything I write is connected.”

The most obvious associations are the setting and style. Her parents, both Nigerian, began taking her family on trips back to Nigeria from the United States when she was young. Now, Okorafor says Nigeria is her muse. Not only does she often place her stories there literally or figuratively, she also draws heavily from African folklore.

“There are also elements of traditional African literature,” she says.

On the other hand, Okorafor also involves her personal worldview.

“I see the world as a magical place … magical things are popping up [in my writing] because that’s how I see the world. Magical realism has fantastical elements….”

One woman’s odyssey

MSU graduate Nnedi Okorafor examines life in post-apocalyptic Africa in “Who Fears Death”

by Bill Castanier (Lansing City Pulse)

Oneyesunwu, a product of genocidal rape, is different — and not just in a physical sense — with lighter skin and facial characteristics that show her cross-tribal parentage. Her mother recognizes she is special in a magical way and destined to confront the genocidal holocaust of Africa.

In many ways the book, set sometime in the future, is an alternate gender-bender “Star Wars” with a female protagonist out to change a much grimmer world. It has a pure science-fiction quest mixed with large doses of magical realism.


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