Author Profile

Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is an international, award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. She's the author of the Black Panther comics from Marvel Comics, with a movie adaptation that became a world-wide sensation!  She's authored a spinoff graphic novel, Wakanda Forever, with a movie to follow. Her other comics include Antar: the Black Knight (IDW/Mirage Films), and LaGuardia. Author George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and HBO are turning Nnedi's adult novel, Who Fears Death, into a TV series.  The Book of Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death) was heralded by the NY Times as a "triumph".

Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture and folklore into creative, evocative settings with memorable characters. She's considered by many to be the successor to Ursula LeGuin for her literary quality fantasy and sci-fi creations. She's a multi NYTimes bestselling author, and her many literary awards include a Nebula and Hugo Award. She has a passionate following for her Binti series, and the Akata Witch books. Her children's book Chicken in the Kitchen won an Africana Book Award. Akata Witch 2: Akata Warrior, and Binti 2: Home, are now out in paperback.  She holds a PhD in English.

" Nnedi's visit was wonderful--it was a real treat for the campus. The most interesting part for me was probably hearing her talk about how she got started writing and how she works without a clear idea of how long the pieces will be. Several students talked to me afterward and mentioned those things as well. They really enjoyed hearing her read several excerpts from her novels and liked talking with her afterward. There was a long line of people wanting books signed!"
-- Tina May Hall-Associate Professor of Literature and Creative Writing, Hamilton College

"Nnedi's visit last year was a seminal event for our campus. The discussion about culture and identity and race continued for the rest of the year. She profoundly impacted our population and gave many students the confidence to speak up, especially about issues of racial inequality. Hearing Nnedi's answers to complicated, yet contemporary, political issues helped kids feel empowered to speak out against racism and anti-immigration viewpoints. Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing us Nnedi."
-- Irene Kistler, Alamo Heights High School

"The Nnedi Okorafor event here at our library was wonderful! This is a total understatement. Ms. Okorafor was incredibly gracious, personable, great with our customers, amazingly approachable and I could go on for days! We have received such positive feedback! She was great with both the students and the adult audience. She made our library proud."
-- Jordan Neal, Champaign Public Library

For more about Nnedi and her works, go to

Reviews of The Book of Phoenix

Okorafor's inventiveness is as stunning as ever, and the ending is nothing short of spectacular.
-- Gary Wolfe, The Chicago Tribune

Okorafor triumphs over the perils of the prequel by making the inevitable feel newly dreadful. Blending poetic passages with sharp observation and the occasional cadence of a story told by firelight, "THE BOOK OF PHOENIX" is an assured introduction not just to her world's myths, but to the process of mythmaking.
-- The New York Times

Reviews of The Lagoon

Chaotic, enthralling, and moving fluidly from character voices to oral-style narration to gut-punchingly beautiful prose, Lagoon is almost less a novel than an experience: Of free-diving, of night-flying, of being cocooned in a spider's web.
-- NPR

Okorafor has a good sense to shake up convention. Alien species come to Lagos in the hopes of becoming Nigerian citizens because they find the country, with its fervent Christianity, Igbo masquerades, oil economy, 419 scammers, and brave gay rights activists, energizing and attractive.
-- The Washington Post

Reviews of Who Fears Death

Her pacing is tight. Her expository sections sing like poetry. Descriptions of paranormal people and battles are disturbingly vivid and palpable. But most crucial to the book's success is how the author slowly transforms Onye's pursuit of her rapist father from a personal vendetta to a struggle to transform the social systems that created him.
-- The Village Voice

The subject matter of this haunting tale is brutal, yet its words inspire hope...It is a story that begs to be read in one sitting.
-- The Christian Science Monitor

Videos featuring Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor on The Africa Channel's "Behind the Words" Part 1

Nnedi Okorafor on NPR "I Love Stories - And So I Write Them"

TED Talk: Sci-fi Stories that Imagine a Future Africa


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Nnedi Okorafor