Akwaeke EmeziAn interview with the author who finished writing three novels before their first was even published.

Akwaeke EmeziAn interview with the author who finished writing three novels before their first was even published.

“I grew up in a culture in which rigor was a way of showing care.”

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 trickster whose goal is to torment the human mother by dying unexpectedly only to return in the next child and do it all over again.” Wresting Igbo spiritualism from colonial interpretations that see it as a relic of the past, Freshwater situates that spirituality in a contem...

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