Emezi’s debut novel Freshwater is heavily autobiographical, and wrestles with the limitations of existing in a single body. Akwaeke Emezi’s social media followers love the videos they posts of themselves dancing when they are in a particularly good mood—and, lately, they have had many reasons to celebrate. The Igbo and Tamil writer’s debut novel, Freshwater, was published to resounding praise in early 2018, prompting the sale of two future novels. Both the protagonist of their unflinching bildungsroman and the author identify as ogbanje—in Emezi’s words, “an Igbo spirit that’s born into a human body, a kind of malevolent This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Food Issue 46 At Work With: Deb Perelman The little blog that could: An interview with Smitten Kitchen’s unflappable founder. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Lisa Taddeo On writing the secret lives of women. Arts & Culture Issue 43 The Science of Fiction How Amazon is rewriting the novel. Arts & Culture Issue 39 Archive: Jean Stein Annick Weber chronicles the life of one of New York’s great storytellers. Arts & Culture Issue 39 Susanna Moore The sharp-eyed writer on high society and her supermodel past. Arts & Culture Issue 37 Anne Tyler The author of sprawling family dramas on her own epic half-century of writing.