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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

'Slow down and consider things'


“The privilege of being a writer is that you have this opportunity to slow down and to consider things.”—Chris Abani 


Born in Nigeria on this date in 1966, Abani is the award-winning author of half-dozen novels; numerous novellas, short stories and plays; and 8 books of poetry.  He started writing young and was so good at skewering those in power that he was imprisoned 3 times by the Nigerian government.  The first time came after his first novel– Masters of the Board – came out at age 19, when he was accused of attempting to overthrow the government.  


His second novel, Sirocco, published shortly after his release, got him right back in jail where he continued writing and after release the second time he produced a number of anti-government plays that were considered so inflammatory they got him back in prison, this time sentenced to death.  But he escaped to England where he continued his education and writing after being awarded a PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, the literary world’s response to those injustices. 


Since emigrating to the U.S. and eventually earning dual citizenship, he has won some three dozen major awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a California Book Award.  His 2015 novel, The Secret History of Las Vegas, won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Paperback Original.


An avid supporter of the World Wide Web as a writing and publishing resource, he noted, “Like most writers, I find the Web is a wonderful distraction.   Who doesn't need that last minute research before writing?”

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