Woman Crush Wednesday: Nnedi Okarafor – Here’s Why…

If you’re plugged in, then by now you’ve probably heard that Nnedi Okorafor’s book – Who Fears Death – is being developed into a TV series on HBO by none other than George R.R. Martin, the mind behind Game Of Thrones. Yaaas, girl!

Nnedi is a Nigerian award-winning science-fiction/fantasy writer; she won the Hurston-Wright literary award in 2001, she won the ”Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa’ for her critically claimed novel – Zahrah the Windseeker, she also won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award,  the World Fantasy Award, the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa, the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award…we could go on and on, but people, please don’t stop giving this woman all the awards – she deserves them!

So basically, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that one of our own has landed this kind of sweet deal. With Game of Thrones winding down (the final season airs next year), could Who Fears Death be our next Game Of Thrones?

Really, we need to be asking the serious questions here – will it compare? Will it surpass? Will it be even handled well? These American studios are still struggling with how to tell African stories but in all fairness to them, we should be saddled with the responsibility of telling our stories not them – that way, we get to tell them the way we want to, with all the glory and all the gore; and that way, all praises and all critiques belong to us.

Who Fears Death tells the story of Onyesonwo (which means ‘who fears death?’ literally) who is born in a post-apocalyptic Africa where the Nuru tribe has succeeded in enslaving the Okeke people. Her mother – an Okeke woman – was raped by a Nuru man and that is basically the background to her birth. As Onye grows older, she discovers she has magical abilities. After visiting the spirit world, she learns that a powerful being wants her dead. This inevitably sends her on a dangerous journey around the country.

Why this is even more amazing is because stories like these are rarely ever told in an African context and when they are, they don’t get the critical acclaim they deserve. So, yes, Nnedi is literally trailblazing a path for other African science fiction/fantasy writers to follow through and shine. Which is pretty awesome because there are a lot of African authors in these genres who feel they don’t necessarily have a voice in the literary community.

It’s not every time that African books should be about wars, slavery or surviving living in diaspora, abeg. We have more to offer, especially on the literary front. One particular genre I personally admire, besides sci-fi and fantasy, is the coming of age genres – I love how coming age stories cut across multiple spectrums and we see writers every day do amazing things with these stories

Other books by Nnedi Okarafor that are definitely worth checking on include Zahrah the Windseeker, The Shadow Speaker, Iridessa and the Secret of the Never Mine, The Book Of Phoenix, Binti, Lagoon and Akata Witch.

The talented author has a way with her story telling and navigating a new world that not only impresses but also includes the reader. Well done, honey.

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If you liked that story, you should also check out: Daniel Craig Returns To Role Of James Bond – Who Didn’t See That Coming?