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When Nnedi Okorafor is not writing brilliant, award-winning novels about aliens, we now have reason to believe that she’s sometimes outdoors taking pictures of a different kind of non-human species—butterflies!

The scifi author has always been open about her endearing affinity for small animals in general but especially “big, beautiful, harmless, winged” ones. If you’re just learning this about her for the first time, it’s because you are not a real Okorafor fan.

She shares photos of insects, frogs, strange and colorful animals on all her social media pages. In a caption accompanying one of her posts about an animal, she suggested that if she weren’t writing, she would, perhaps, be studying these creatures as a career (and we believe her). She is always on the look out for these creatures and discovers them in the most random places—the gym parking lot—thanks to what she calls her “heightened bug senses.”

Knowing all this, we didn’t think anything of it when one butterfly photo showed up last week on her Instagram feed. But when a slew of about 14 photos followed—all of butterflies—we knew something was up. A quick visit to her Facebook page was all it took to get to the bottom of it. She had visited the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. 

Yesterday, I held the biggest insect I’ve ever held in my life—this Atlas Moth at the nature museum (the largest moth in the world!). 😃. So spectacular.

If you want to see other pics I took (all butterflies, this was the only moth they had), I’m posting them on my Instagram page.

The little we gathered from the tags attached to the photos tells us that she had so much fun hanging out with the butterflies and photographing them.

Here are some of the lovely photos.

P.S. Remember when we looked at Lidudmalingani’s feed here? I think we can all agree that African writers are winning on Instagram.


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All photos from Okorafor’s Instagram page. Click here to see more posts in the African Literature on Instagram series.

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About Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle

View all posts by Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle
Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle is a creative writer and a student of International Studies and English. Some of her work has been published by Shale, Limestone, Indiana Review and Brittle Paper. She is passionate about language, stories and Chipotle, and would almost always rather be writing.

One Response to “African Literature on Instagram Vol. 6 | Okorafor’s Butterfly Obsession Explained” Subscribe

  1. Hannah 2016/06/20 at 5:48 am #

    Those are some totally gorgeous butterflies. Amazing.

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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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