Uwem Akpan

Cindy Seip

Uwem Akpan’s fiction and autobiographical pieces have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Guardian Nigeria, and O, The Oprah Magazine. His New York Times bestseller Say You’re One of Them won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region), the PEN Open Book Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He is from Ikot Akpan Eda in the Niger Delta in Nigeria. In New York, My Village: A Novel (W.W. Norton & Company), Nigerian editor Ekong Udousoro is in New York City with a chance to learn at the center of the publishing industry. He’s met with kindness, but he also soon witnesses the ruthlessness of the business, a shared hostility toward the “other,” a bedrock of white cultural superiority, and racist assumptions about Africa and its people. Ekong’s life in New York becomes a saga of unanticipated strife. In overcoming misunderstandings with his neighbors, bonding with true allies at work, and advocating for healing back home, he finds that there is still hope in sharing our stories – even as tribalism defines our lives, no matter the size of our village. Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot, praised New York, My Village, saying “[Akpan] has transformed the isolating and exhausting intricacies of war trauma into a compulsively readable novel, at once hilarious, utterly harrowing, profoundly optimistic, and horrifically informative. … I adored this book.”