Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, She holds two degrees, including an MPA from New York University.
Akwaeke creates self-portraits that examine the process of navigating embodiment and within her work, she has interests in transgressive stories that challenge idealistic perceptions of humanity. Her practice centers on themes of neurodivergence, Igbo faith traditions, loss and loneliness, death, dislocations, and liminal identities.
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She made a debut with her autobiographical novel, FRESHWATER, which is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in February 2018 and her short story ‘Who Is Like God’ won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.
In 2017, she was awarded a Global Arts Fund grant for the video art in her project “The Unblinding”, and a Sozopol Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction. She also received a 2015 Morland Writing Scholarship to write her second novel, and is a 2016 Kimbilio Fellow.
Akwaeke’s writing has been published by Granta Online and Commonwealth Writers, among others, and her cultural commentary has appeared on Vogue.com. Her memoir work was selected and edited by Chimamanda Adichie (‘Sometimes The Fire Is Not Fire’) and included in The Fader’s ‘Best Culture Writing of 2015 “Who Will Claim You”? Her experimental short UDUDEAGU won the Audience Award for Best Short Experimental at the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival and has screened in over thirteen countries.