okey-ndibe-memoir

Nigerian novelist Okey Ndibe received the best birthday present any author could ever imagine.

Just two days before his birthday on the 15th of May, the galleys of his new book arrived. He posted a picture of himself holding the book on Facebook with the tag:

“The sheer joy of holding the galley copy of my forthcoming book, “Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American.”

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The post has since garnered over 800 likes and 150 comments by well-wishers expressing excitement over the new book.

This comes as no surprise. The author of Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc is a favorite in the African literary community. His work is loved and well-known.

After two novels and decades-long career in literary publishing and criticism, it is a good thing that Ndibe chronicles his experiences in a memoir.

Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American is a “funny, charming, and penetrating memoir,” according to the blurb on Amazon. It also says that the memoir

tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential—but forever teetering on the verge of insolvency—African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe’s relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and other literary figures; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just 13 days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. All these stories and more come together in a generous, encompassing book about the making of a writer and a new American.

Happy belated birthday to Ndibe! And, of course, congrats on the new book.

Click here to pre-order.