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Chinelo Okparanta  

Author Best Known for "Happiness, Like Water," and Novel "Under the Udala Trees"

Born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Chinelo Okparanta received her BS from Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. A Colgate University Olive B. O'Connor Fellow in Fiction as well as a recipient of the University of Iowa's Provost's Postgraduate Fellowship in Fiction, Okparanta was one of Granta's six New Voices for 2012.

Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, among others. Short-listed for the 2013 Caine Prize in African Writing, she is also a 2014 O. Henry Award winner and a 2014 Lambda Literary Award winner for Lesbian Fiction. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies by Bread Loaf (John Gardner Fellow in Fiction), the Jentel Foundation, the Hermitage Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, as well as Hedgebrook.

Her debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water (Granta Books), was longlisted for the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, shortlisted for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. She has been nominated for a United States Artists Fellowship and was a finalist for the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in Literature. Other honors include the 2013 Society of Midland Authors Award (finalist), the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing (finalist), and a 2014 O. Henry Award.

Happiness, Like Water was an Editors' Choice for The New York Times Book Review on September 20, 2013. It was also listed as one of The Guardian's Best African Fiction of 2013, and in December 2014 was announced as being on the shortlist for the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

Her first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was published in 2015.


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