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Akwaeke Emezi    

Award-Winning Author & Video Artist

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. They are a 2018 National Book Foundation '5 Under 35' honoree and their debut autobiographical novel Freshwater is currently long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Translated into six languages, Freshwater is a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence and The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize. It was named a Best Book of the Year by the New Yorker, NPR, the Chicago Public Library, and Buzzfeed. It was also 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 2019 by Make Me a World/Knopf Books for Young Readers. Their second 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 in February 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 fourth and fifth novels.


A Startling Début Novel Explores the Freedom of Being Multiple ...

Katy Waldman writes that “Freshwater,” Akwaeke Emezi's début novel, is a study in dysphoria that explores the paradox of trying to trace a self that is defined by ...

A dazzling, devastating novel: 'Freshwater' by Akwaeke Emezi

There is a devastating moment in “Freshwater,” the debut novel by Akwaeke Emezi, when the main character known as Ada gives herself over completely to the ...

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