Reading and talk

• Fri 02 12 2016 •
America Chinelo Okparanta


Venue: ACADEMYSPACE, Herwarthstraße 3, 50672 Cologne
6 €, reduced 4 €
in English and German

The woman narrating the story is a high school teacher in Nigeria who is fascinated by the self-confident Gloria right from the start. Out of their collegial exchange develops an intensive friendship and “forbidden” love. The women also bond over their engagement in political and ecological issues, with the environmental catastrophe in the Niger Delta providing constant incendiary material. The couple’s situation does not become easier when Gloria pursues a successful career in America.   Chinelo Okparanta reads her shortstory America. The evening is moderated by the writer Guy Helminger.

In cooperation with the University of Düsseldorf, Voices of Africa presents a short story series with five award-winning emerging English-language authors in 2016 and 2017. The series „Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing visiting Cologne“ proceeds with Nigerian American author Chinelo Okparanta.  

The Caine Prize is the leading pan-African award for young authors, given by Africans to Africans. Supporting the establishment of this short story prize are four African Nobel Prize winners, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Naguib Mahfouz and J. M. Coetzee, as well as many other prominent figures. The Caine Prize also fosters talented authors through workshops and internationally distributed publications. For more than six years, Voices of Africa has presented works by writers from the continent next door.

Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, and is the author of **Happiness, Like Water and Under the Udala Trees. A recipient of a 2014 O. Henry Award and 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Fiction, she was also a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and has been nominated for a United States Artists Fellowship in Literature, long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing, and was named a New Voice by Granta in 2012. Her short stories have appeared in Granta, The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, and Subtropics among other journals. She lives in New York and teaches at the University of Southern New Hampshire.