Spotlight: Chinelo Okparanta

Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers welcomes

Chinelo Okparanta

Okparanta Photo

Chinelo Okparanta is the author of Under The Udala Trees, winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for fiction; winner of the 2016 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award in Fiction; 2016 Nominee for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award in Fiction; a 2016 NAACP Image Awards Nominee, “Outstanding Literary Work—Fiction”; 2016 Publishing Triangle Award Finalist (Ferro-Grumley Literary Award); and a host of other awards.

Chinelo Okparanta, born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, is a University of Iowa Provost’s Postgraduate Visiting Writer in Fiction as well as a Colgate University Olive B. O’Connor Fellow in Fiction, Okparanta received her BS from Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was one of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012 and is a Lambda Award winner for Lesbian Fiction, an O. Henry Short Story Prize winner. Her stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.

Under The Udala Trees

“Okparanta is masterful…Here is writing rich in the beautiful intimacies of people who love each other—and wise about the importance of holding onto those precious connections in a world that is, more often than not, dangerous and cold. Written with courage and compassion, this debut novel by Okparanta stunningly captures a young girl’s coming of age against the backdrop of a nation at war.” —Kirkus, Starred review


Listen to Chinelo Okparanta‘s interview for Library of Congress’ Conversations with African Writers  She reads excerpts from her fiction.

Chinelo Okparanta is the author of the collection, “Happiness Like Water,” an award-winning collection of short stories.

Hapiness Like Wster

“The stories in Okparanta’s first collection are quiet, often unnervingly so, in the manner of a stifled shriek…One character notes the silences that fall between her and her mother, ‘as if we no longer valued spoken words, as if spoken words were gaudy finishes on a delicate piece of art, unnecessary distractions from the masterpiece, whose substance was more meaningfully experienced if left un-ornamented.’ If this is Okparanta’s goal – the distillation of experience into something crystalline, stark but lustrous – she is well on her way there.” —New York Times Book Review

For Festival 2016, Chinelo Okparanta will present the workshop, “Crafting The Short Story” a practice-based approach to fiction writing. The two-hour session will consist of in-depth analyses of craft elements of selected short stories, in conjunction with hands-on attention to Participants’ own short stories.


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