Nnedi Okorafor: Sci-fi stories that imagine a future Africa
Nnedi Okorafor weaves African cultures into the evocative settings and memorable characters of her science fiction work for kids and adults. Full bio
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from a traditional family
university in the galaxy,
from my "Binti" novella trilogy:
and said a silent prayer.
to do if it didn't work.
or, more likely, a grain of sand,
I had to restart it over and over
please not now," I thought.
and I held my breath.
slowly rose from the sand.
the baggage-lifting force.
to the shuttle on time.
with my index finger and knelt down,
red clay into it.
along the dark desert road.
I would make it there on time.
I paused and shut my eyes.
was pressing on my shoulders.
part of myself for the first time
and they had no clue.
except for my younger sister and brother,
I'd do such a thing in a million years.
what I'd done and where I was going,
would growl to each other
to set foot in their home again.
who lived down the road
the entire bloodline.
to the transporter,
around each ankle jingled noisily,
when I didn't touch it.
sweat forming on my brow.
sitting atop the force field a shove.
and I breathed another sigh of relief.
of the Himba ethnic group.
into a university on another planet,
of her people in her veins,
ways, even the land on her very skin,
she becomes not other, but more.
and then becoming more
a different type of science fiction.
classic science fiction and Afrofuturism
intelligent creatures on earth.
from a different evolutionary line,
of various forms of science fiction.
societies, social issues,
what's within our planet.
and most effective forms
has the same ancestral bloodline,
Robert Heinlein, etc.
wrote science fiction?
read much science fiction.
colonization and seeing aliens as others.
who looked like me in those narratives.
to seek education from extraterrestrials.
a line of classic space opera narratives,
leave the planet on her own terms.
had different ancestors,
Nigerian immigrant parents
of classic science fiction.
that led me to write science fiction.
to Nigeria in the late '90s.
with my family since I was very young.
even wrote took place in Nigeria.
cosmologies and spiritualities.
the role of technology in Nigeria:
to my cousin's desktop computer
was always going on and off.
that most Nigerians saw as normal.
gave birth to stories.
from my novel, "Lagoon."
to the great mess happening in Lagos,
had portable, chargeable,
communicating, connected devices,
and posted online in some way,
is connected like a spider's web.
dominated every international news source,
circle, pyramid and trapezoid.
past, present and future.
and ancestors who dwelled in Lagos.
of the people of Lagos.
the supreme spider artist,
beneath the city of Lagos,
of extraterrestrials coming to Lagos.
who was the size of a house
the past, present and future
and be a part of the story.
and sociopolitical changes it'll inspire.
science fiction can be a will to power.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERNnedi Okorafor - Science fiction writer
Nnedi Okorafor weaves African cultures into the evocative settings and memorable characters of her science fiction work for kids and adults.
Why you should listen
Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism. Born in the US to Nigerian immigrant parents, Okorafor is known for weaving African cultures into creative settings and memorable characters. Her books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for best novel), Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for best novel), Kabu Kabu (a Publisher's Weekly best book for Fall 2013), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com best book of the year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature) and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner).
Her 2016 novel The Book of Phoenix is an Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist, while the first book in the Binti Trilogy won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella. Her children’s book Chicken in the Kitchen won an Africana Book Award. The final installment of the Binti Trilogy, titled The Night Masquerade, will be released in September 2017, and the sequel to Akata Witch (titled Akata Warrior) is was published in October 2017. Meanwhile, her book Who Fears Death has been optioned by HBO, with Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin as executive producer.
Okorafor is a full professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY).
Nnedi Okorafor | Speaker | TED.com