Although author and University of Buffalo professor, Nnedi Okorafor, didn’t technically start writing creatively until she was 20 years old, she will tell you that she’s been a writer since the beginning of time. The Nigerian-American novelist, now 44, has penned more than 12 books centered around African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism. Her joy stems from writing stories about wild women, monsters, planets and moving through and messing with time. Okorafo, Cincinnati born and Chicago raised—credits her wild imagination to no one but herself. Simply put, she was a creative child who grew into a creative adult. She honed in on this creativity while receiving a BA in Rhetoric (creative writing) from the University of Illinois, U-C, a MA in Journalism from Michigan State University, another MA in Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a PhD in Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” would be ideal background music for the magic she’s been stirring up. For Okorafor, who opts to move by visceral desire over planned goals, 2017 proved to be a particularly fruitful year. Not only was the accomplished scribe tapped by Marvel to write a new Black Panther storyline—the fourth comic issue will feature her Nigerian character, Ngozi, in an adventure in Lagos—but she also wrote a short story for Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View via Random House’s sci-fi imprint, Del Rey. HBO optioned her award-winning novel Who Fears Death for TV adaptation and she announced that she would be writing a third young adult novel (following behind her books Akata Witch and Akata Warrior).
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of her power moves. Currently, she is working on the final edits for her novel, Remote Control; a five-issue comic series called Antar the Black Knight; the graphic novel called LaGuardia; a secret non-fiction book; and an even larger project she hasn’t been cleared to make public yet. It is safe to say that Okorafor is a literary force to be reckoned with.