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Chika Unigwe


Encyclopedia » Biography » Authors/Writer
Nigeria

Introducing one of the best African writers of our generation.
 
Welcome to Logbaby's Biography of Chika Unigwe.

 


SUMMARY

Name: Amarachika Nina Unigwe 

Pen or Nickname: Chika Unigwe 

Date of Birth: June 12th, 1974

Relationship Status: Married with 4 children

Occupation: Author

GENRE: Fiction and Essay


INTRODUCTION

Chika Nina Unigwe is a Nigerian author famous for her book “On Black Sisters' Street” which won the NLNG Literature Prize in 2012. She was also selected for the “Hay Festival's Africa 39“, a list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature. She writes in English and Dutch and infact published her first book called De Feniks in Dutch.

EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION

Chika Unigwe was born on 12 June 1974 in Enugu State, Nigeria. She is the 6th of 7 children. She did her Secondary education at Federal Government Girls’ College, Abuja and further went on to earn a BA in English at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1995.

In 1996, she obtained an MA (Master of Art) in English from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium and then earned a Ph.D from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in 2004, for her thesis “In the Shadow of Ala: Igbo Women Writing as an Act of Righting”.

WRITING BEGINS

Chika spent two years in Seattle (Washington State, USA) from 2000 to 2002, but otherwise resided in Belgium until 2013. During that time, she pursued her writing career, but also engaged in other activities, such as sitting on the Turnhout town council, and teaching Flemish to immigrants.

Unigwe, who was inspired by the works of Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa and Buchi Emecheta, first made her mark as a novelist in September 2005 with De Feniks (The Phoenix), which was published in Flemish (Dutch language as spoken in Flanders. It is one of the two official languages of Belgium). It was the first book of fiction written by a Flemish author of African origin and was shortlisted for the Vrouw en Kultuur debuutprijs (‘Women and Culture Debut Prize’) for the best first novel by a female writer, as well as the 2007 Gerard Walschapprijs, a bi-annual prize for novels.

HER CAREER

Chika is Creative Director of the Awele Creative Trust, and she was a judge for the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 and recently precisely September 2016 she was invited to be a Bonderman Professor of Creative Writing at Brown University, Providence RI, USA.

Her book “On Black Sisters Street” won the 2012 Nigeria Prize for Literature; valued at $100,000 as it is Africa's largest literary prize and in the same year she was rated as  one of the "top five African writers by Zukiswa Wanner in “The Guardian”.

 

She has published short fiction in several anthologies, journals and magazines, including Wasafiri (University of London), Moving Worlds (University of Leeds), Per Contra, Voices of the University of Wisconsin and Okike of the University of Nigeria.

In 2014 the University of Tübingen invited Chika Unigwe and her fellow authors Taiye Selasi, Priya Basil and Nii Ayikwei Parkes to the year's Writers' Lectureship, representing Afropolitan Literature. That same year she published Black Messiah, a novel about Olaudah Equiano.

In 2016, Unigwe was appointed as the Bonderman Professor of Creative Writing at Brown University in Rhode Island and has been announced as one of the judges for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.

AWARDS

Year Award
2003 BBC Short Story Competition for the short story “Borrowed Smile”
2003 Commonwealth Short Story Competition award
2005 Third prize in the Equiano Fiction Contest
2012 NLG Prize, for the novel On Black Sisters’ Street:

 

FELLOWSHIPS

  • 2007 Unesco-Aschberg Fellowship for creative writing
  • 2009 Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (Bellagio Centre, Italy)
  • 2011 HALD Fellowship (HALD Centre, Denmark)
  • 2011 and 2016 Writing Fellowship at the Ledig House (Omi NY, USA)
  • 2013 Writing Fellowing at Cove Park (Scotland)
  • 2014 Writer-in-Residence, Haverford College (Philadelphia PA, USA)
  • 2014 Sylt Fellowship for African Writers

PERSONAL LIFE

She is married to a Belgian Engineer, they wedded in 2004 and with him she has 4 kids. She lived in Belgium before moving to The United States in 2013.

SOME OF HER BOOKS

A Rainbow for Dinner Born in Nigeria Black Messiah
Dreams In the Shadow of Ala; Igbo women's writing as an act of righting Night Dancer
On Black Sisters' Street Tear Drops The Phoenix

 

 

Article Credit: Kenechukwu Edeh

Updated 12 Months ago
 

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