Nigerian academic Christopher N. Okonkwo has won the 2022 College Language Association Scholarship Award for his recently published book Kindred Spirits: Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison. [Read our review here and an excerpt here if you missed it.]

The College Language Association Scholarship Award is awarded for “outstanding literary, linguistic scholarship.” The award is given once a year and has been awarded to other notable scholars like Nigerian-American Aaron N. Oforlea for his book James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Black Male Subjectivity. 

The College Language Association was founded in 1937 by a group of Black scholars and aims to foster a space where scholars can engage in collaborative research as well as critical conversations on Black language, literature, and culture.

Kindred Spirits is an exploration of the personal and literary connections between famed authors Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison and is the first book-length comparative study on both author’s work. The book discusses their mutual respect and admiration for each other, proposes a theoretical framework for thinking through connecting threads in their work, and also compares their trilogies: Things Fall ApartArrow of God, and No Longer at Ease, with BelovedJazz, and Paradise.

Christopher N. Okonkwo is an associate professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has published in several journals, including CallalooResearch in African LiteraturesCLA JournalAfrican American ReviewAfrican Literature Today, and MELUS. 

Congratulations to Professor Okonkwo!