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Chris Abani.

Novelist and poet Chris Abani was recently in a conversation with Paul Holdengraber, Director of New York Public Library (NYPL)’s Public Programming. The conversation, which took place via a phone call, centered on “tenderness, Yoruba creation myths, James Baldwin, and trying to write an essay about the refugee experience.” It is published by Literary Hub.

Professor of English at Northwestern University, Chris Abani is the author of the novels: Masters of the Board (1985), GraceLand  (2004), Becoming Abigail (2006), The Virgin of Flames (2007), Song For Night (2007), and The Secret History of Las Vegas (2014); and of the poetry collections: Kalakuta Republic (2001), Daphne’s Lot  (2003), Dog Woman (2004), Hands Washing Water (2006), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), and Sanctificum (2010). He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim Award.

Chris Abani is currently headlining the Lagos International Poetry Festival.

Listen to the conversation HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. His conversations appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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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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