Author Profile: Nnedi Okorafor

Author Profile: Nnedi Okorafor is also known as Nnedimma Nkemdili “Nnedi” Okorafor. She is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy and science fiction for both children and adults.

Name: Nnedi Okorafor


2010 – Who Fears Death

2011 – Akata Witch

2015 – Binti

2015 – The Book of Phoenix

2017 – Binti: Home

Background: Nnedi Okorafor was born on 8th April 1974 in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. She is 46 years old. The name of her child is Anyaugo Okorafor-Mbachu.

She completed her schooling at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. She completed her BA from University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, MA degree from Michigan State University and University of Illinois, Chicago. She was awarded the Ph.D degree from University of Illinois, Chicago.

The Igbo Nigerian parents of Nnedi Okorafor travelled to America for schooling purposes, however due to the Nigerian Civil War, they could not return. Okorafor has been visiting Nigeria right from a young age. She became a nationally known track and tennis start right from the time she attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School. She excelled in the sciences, mathematics and had great interest in insects, which make her desirous of becoming an entomologist. At 13 years of age she was diagnosed with scoliosis and underwent the spinal fusion surgery at age 19 to fuse and straighten her spine. However she became paralyzed waist down due to a rare complication.

Nnedi Okorafor diverted towards writing small stories and creative writing. On regaining her ability to walk, with intense physical therapy, she took to creative writing classes and by the end of the semester, she wrote her first novel.

Genre:: Though Nnedi Okorafor’s roots belong to Nigerian heritage, her literary work blends lyrical folkloric fables with traditional future narratives and far-future planetary settings with African locales. The author explores environmental degradation, inequality and gender politics through strong female characters in her work. Bin, her multi award winning work, a character based fantasy and science fiction, complex and diverse is a great place for the reader to get engaged. Nnedi Okorafor has acquired a number of awards and has gradually become prominent in the United Kingdom.

Literary Contributions: Nnedi Okorafor has won a number of awards including, Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Children’s Africana Book Award, The World Fantasy Award, Nebula Award for Best Novella, Locus Award for Best YA Novel, Carl Brandon Parallax Award, Hugo Award for Best Novella, Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa and The Lodestar Award.

Unique Stylistic FeaturesNnedi Okorafor is well known for her books, Who Fears Death, Binti, Akata, Zahrah the Windseeker and Lagoon. She was named as the African Literary Person of the Year by Brittle Paper in 2015. Her well known movies are Hello, Rain.