Spotlight on Akwaeke Emezi
Akwaeke Emezi is a non-binary and transgender Nigerian speculative fiction writer and video artist. Raised in Aba, Nigeria, they were a voracious reader during childhood and began writing short stories when they were five years old. Emezi is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in liminal spaces and their practice is rooted in the metaphysics of Black spirit.
Emezi's debut autobiographical novel, Freshwater, received critical acclaim and was a finalist for numerous prestigious awards, including the PEN/Hemingway Award, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and a Lambda Literary Award. It was longlisted for the Carnagie Medal of Excellence, Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Brooklyn Library Literary Prize, among others. It won the 2019 Otherwise Award and the Nommo Award. Their other novel for adults, The Death of Vivek Oji, which was a New York Times Bestseller, as well as a Stonewall Award Honor. They have also written two teen novels, Pet, and its prequel, Bitter, both about a transgender teenager. A memoir entitled Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir was published in 2021 and won the 2022 Stonewall Book Award for Nonfiction. Emezi has a forthcoming romance debut and a forthcoming debut poetry collection, both releasing in 2022.