Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetThe literary hustle is tough. That’s why we have nothing but mad love and respect for our African writers, both aspiring and established, who inspire us daily with their work and their passion for documenting our stories. 

To show these writers some good ‘ole Brittle Paper love, we are launching a new series to celebrate their successes. 


Our featured writer is Akwaeke Emezi. She is of Nigerian and Malaysian heritage, grew up in Aba, and currently lives in the US.

We’ve had our eyes on Emezi for quite a while and knew she was going to excel—long before our dear Binyavanga Wainaina declared on Facebook: “This young woman, Akwaeke Emezi is about to make it big as a writer.”


Binyavanga Wainaina and Emezi


Emezi is talented. Part writer, part filmmaker, she is an artist through and through. Her short film titled Ududeagu — A must-watch!—is an experimental take on Igbo folklore. [Watch HERE]

Of course, the big news this week is that she has joined the client list of The Wylie Agency. She broke the news via Facebook and Twitter a few day ago. This is huge. As far as literary agencies go, Wylie is royalty. They represent everyone from Salman Rushdie to Al Gore.


Chimamanda Adichie and Emezi


As a Wylie girl, Emezi and Chimamanda Adichie are now agency mates. They are also represented by the same literary agent, Sarah Chalfant.

Within the African literary circles, this puts Emezi in very high-profile company. Wylie Agency represents Achebe’s estates, Teju Cole, Taiye Selasi, Binyavanga Wainaina, Yvonne Owuor, Noviolet Bulawayo, E. C. Osondu, Helen Oyeymi, and so on—pretty much any one who is anyone in the African literary scene.


Emezi and Teju Cole


We are particularly delighted with Emezi’s rise in the African literary community given that exactly two years ago, we published a short fiction by her titled “Threshold.” To think that she is now well on her way to becoming an established voice in the community is heartwarming.

Here is a selection of her published work to give you a sense of her style and voice.


Lusaka Punk and Other Stories — ‘Burial’ (Print)
Sable Literary Magazine — ‘Femimo’
Specter Magazine —  ‘How To Hide A Child’
East Jasmine Review + Cassava Republic — ‘Relict’


Olisa Special Literary Supplement  — ‘Sometimes The Fire Is Not Fire’  (Selected + Edited by Chimamanda Adichie)
Africa is a Country – ‘Flying to Frankfurt with a Super Eagle’
Brittle Paper — ‘Answering Chimamanda’s Call’


Emezi is a Farafina Creative Writing Workshop alumni.  So, yes, she has met Adichie, and, yes, there were fireworks.  Adichie even doodled a sketch of Emezi. And, yes, Emezi promptly had the sketch framed. As you can see in the image below, which she shared on Facebook.


Congrats to Emezi for snagging a Wylie agency rep. Keep writing! We wish your the best and look forward to reading more of your work.

To learn more about her:

Visit her


Image via Akwaeke Emezi’s Facebook Page

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

5 Responses to “Africa’s Rising Literary Stars | Meet Akwaeke Emezi” Subscribe

  1. Ola Nubi 2015/09/01 at 2:09 pm #

    Great article and all the best to Emezi.

  2. Celestine Chimmumunefenwuanya Victorson 2015/09/02 at 8:12 am #

    I pray she debuts with a novel totally different.An art that teaches us,opens our eyes and fill our hearts with awe ,the sense of experiment and the gut to practicalize what we read

  3. Ainehi Edoro 2015/09/10 at 4:09 pm #

    Celestine! Long-time no see. Happy to see you’re back.

  4. Celestine Chimmumunefenwuanya Victorson 2015/09/11 at 11:49 pm #

    Big Auntie Edo i’ve always stayed around. It’s just that BP no more reply my emails and i felt undermined. I’d grow one day!

  5. Ainehi Edoro 2015/09/12 at 10:45 am #

    We really missed you o. Anyway, welcome back!

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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