Nigerian-American Africanfuturist writer Nnedi Okorafor announced recently that her previously published YA novels Akata Witch and Akata Warrior was now part of The Nsibidi Script Series. She shared this information on Facebook in a post containing details about the latest book in the series titled Akata Woman.
Nbisidi is a Southeastern Nigerian writing system with influences that span various cultural spheres. The expansive collection of pictographic and abstract signs define aspects of Igbo visual aesthetics that go as far back as the 5th century. Archeological findings show that Nsibidi inscriptions were placed on everything from calabashes, textile, to masquerade attires, in addition to being used to adorn the skin. By naming the series after the script, Okorafor continues her commitment to basing science fiction and fantasy narrative on African concepts.
Okorafor explains that the nsibidi script has always been at the heart of the series:
Nsibidi is a secret and often mystical ideographic writing system created in what is now called southeastern Nigeria. It is the only West African writing system that is not influenced by hieroglyphics or anything Roman, Latin or Arabic. It is truly deeply only West African. It’s used by the Leopard societies of Nigeria (yes, they are real). And nsibidi is at the heart of this series.
As you can see in the graphic above, Nsibidi inscriptions adorn the cover art of the first two books in the series. In the same post, Okorafor notes that the insibidi inscription on Akata Witch cover means “love,” and the inscription on the Akata Warrior cover means “togetherness.” While details on the third book of the series is yet to come, we do know that the main character is still Sunny Nwazue, an albino Igbo girl. Okorafor’s long time collaborator Greg Ruth is designing the cover while Penguin is publishing. We wonder which Nsibidi inscription will grace the cover for the third book.