Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor

Silence is the best answer to a fool.

—Nnedi Okorafor, from Zahrah the Windseeker

Biography of Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor (@Nnedi) is a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters.

Nnedi Okorafor’s novels include Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and Le Prix Imaginales for Best Translated Novel), 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 (winner of the CBS Parallax Award). Her latest releases include her short story collection Kabu Kabu (A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013) and science fiction novel Lagoon (finalist for Best Novel in the British Science Fiction Association award for Best Novel and a Red Tentacle Award for Best Novel). Visit her website.

Why Worldreader loves Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor’s story The Girl with the Magic Hands details the life of Chidera, a shy Nigerian girl whose life changes when she stumbles upon mysterious forest spirits who draw an intricate leaf on her hand. The leaf inspires Chidera to hone an artistic talent she never knew she had, and although she begins drawing privately her art gains popularity that she eventually attracts commissions. As Chidera blossoms she is nourished by encouragement from her community, which is why the novella was chosen as one of Worldreader’s first book club selections in our San Francisco office. To us Chidera represents the students in the communities where we work, who will grow as books are made available to them. Though Chidera did not know about her hidden talent it flourished with a gentle nudging, leading her to improve many aspects of her life.

The Girl with the Magic Hands speaks to Worldreader’s mission of books for all, because it may take just one book from our library to alter the course of a student’s life. A Ghanaian student, for example, never knew Ghanaians could be authors until she read a Worldreader book by a Ghanaian, and now she wants to be a writer herself. The leaf that the spirits drew on Chidera’s hand stay permanently imprinted on her hand for life. Similarly, we are reminded at Worldreader that our books are expanding and education minds – and that can never be taken away from our students and communities.

Read Writing by Nnedi Okorafor:

  • The Girl With the Magic Hands

    Chidera is on a routine trip to fetch water for her family when she hears something strange. Buy
  • Zahrah the Windseeker

    In the Ooni Kingdom, children born dada—with vines growing in their hair—are rumored to have special powers. Zahrah Tsami doesn’t know anything about that. She feels normal. Others think she’s different—they fear her. Buy