Monthly Archives: March 2013

Nnedi Okorafor

Nigerian + American writer and professor, b. 1974

Science fiction/fantasy has an image of being white, male, and Western—certainly not African. Yet there are many writers challenging this, creating alternative stories and worlds. One of the most prominent of them is Nnedi Okorafor (probably the only African SF writer whose books you could find in an airport). She writes stories about Africans, with African settings, but from an outsider’s point of view.

Outcasts, freaks, the disfigured, the grotesquely enhanced…I write their narratives. [1]

Take for example, Who Fears Death (2010, winner of World Fantasy Award for Best Novel), a story about a young sorceress named Onyesonwu who is shunned because she is a child of rape. It’s an epic quest and coming-of-age story, one that begs to be made into a movie. And it will be, although it is hard to see how a story that disturbing could be filmed.

Some of her other novels include Zahrah the Windseeker (2005, winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize), The Shadow Speaker (2007), Akata Witch (2011), and more. She has also written many short stories, and a collection of them, called Kabu Kabu, will be released in fall 2013.

More:
official website
blog – for updates and interesting (often African) SF news
Who Fears Death: The Movie
“Spider the Artist,” in Lightspeed Magazine
Nnedi Okorafor on The Africa Channel’s “Behind the Words,” part 1
twitter: @Nnedi

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Proprioception, by Nnedi Okorafor

Tatenda Mbudzi

Zimbabwean filmmaker and comedian, b. 1987

If you watched the Oscars last weekend, you may have spotted Tatenda Mbudzi among the group of students who, as winners in the Oscar Experience College Search, got the chance to go on stage and hand the statuettes to the presenters.

In describing how he will change the future of movies, he said:

I’m going to tell stories that globally connect. As a foreigner, I know what it’s like to be an outsider, and I want to tell stories that help people believe in themselves, and believe in others, too. [1]

Mbudzi is currently a student in the Producer’s Program at the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, where he also performs comedy. We’ll see what kinds of interesting things he produces in the future—this exposure should definitely help.

More:
Twitter: @ta10da
Film student prepares for his Oscars debut – UCLA Today

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Tatenda Mbudzi’s video submission