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Photo courtesy of Blue Flower Arts

Chris Abani

Photo courtesy of Blue Flower Arts

Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter, and playwright. He grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, and was educated at Imo State University, Nigeria, Birkbeck, University of London, and the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001.

His fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985).

His poetry collections are Smoking the Bible (Copper Canyon Press, 2022), Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne’s Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001).

He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the PrinceClaus Award, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim Award.

Through his TED Talks, public speaking, and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as in Witness, Parkett, the New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb.

He is Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Prizes, Awards & Fellowships
  • 2003 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction
  • 2004