Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu




Illinois Connection

Okorafor graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School and from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996 with her Bachelor's degree. She went on to receive her Masters in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago and in 2007, received a Ph. D. in English from there as well. She was a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University from 2008 through 2014.

Biographical and Professional Information

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. She is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. Formerly known by her married name of: Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, she no longer goes by that name even though some of her earlier works are written under it.Nnedi holds a PhD in literature/creative writing and has been a full professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY) since 2014. She currently splits her time between Buffalo, New York and Olympia Fields, Illinois. In 2017, Okorafor's book ''Who Fears Death'', has been optioned by HBO & is now in early development as a TV series with ''Game of Thrones'' author, George RR Martin as executive producer.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- "Zahara the Windseeker"

-- *Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature, 2008

-- *Finalist, Garden State Teen Choice Award, 2008

-- *Finalist, Parallax Award, 2005

-- *Finalist, Kindred Award, 2005

-- *Finalist, Golden Duck Award, 2005

-- *Finalist, The Locus Award for Best First Novel

-- *Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature in Fiction, 2012


-- "The Shadow Speaker"

-- *Finalist, Andre Norton Award

-- *Finalist, Essence Magazine Literary Award, 2008

-- *Honor Book, Tiptree

-- *Finalist, Golden Duck Award

-- *Winter Booksense Pick, 2007/2008

-- *CCBC Choice, 2008

-- *Locus Magazine Recommended Book

-- *Parallax Award

-- *Amelia Bloomer Project Book


-- "Long JuJu Man"

-- *Writers' Prize for Africa, Macmillan


-- "Who Fears Death"

-- *World Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel, 2011

-- *Carl Brandon Kindred Award, 2010

-- *RT Reviewer's Choice Best Book Award (Science Fiction), 2010

-- *Finalist, Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, 2010

-- *Tiptree Honor Book, 2011 *Finalist, Black Excellence Award , 2010

-- *Publishers Weekly Best Book, 2010

-- * Best Book, 2010 *Library School Journal Best Book, 2010

-- *Top Pick, RT Reviews

-- *Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

-- *Starred Review, Library Journal


-- "The Akata Series"

-- *Finalist, Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

-- *Best Book of the Year,, 2011

-- *Best Book of the Year, YALSA, 2011

-- *Junior Library Guild Selection

-- *Starred review, Booklist

-- *Starred review, BCCB

-- *Starred review, School Library Journal


-- "Kabu Kabu"

-- *Publisher's Weekly Best Book for Fall, 2013

-- *Finalist, Locus Award for Best Collection


-- "The Book of Phoenix"

-- *Finalist, Arthur C. Clarke Award

-- *Finalist, Sputnik Award

-- *Finalist, Campbell Memorial Award


-- "The Binti Series"

-- *Nebula Award for Best Novella

-- *Hugo Award for Best Novella

-- *Finalist, British Science Fiction Association Award (Best Short)

-- *BooktubeSFF Award for Best Short Work (Popular Vote)

-- *Finalist, Locus Award (Best Novella)


-- "Chicken in the Kitchen"

-- *Children's Africana Book Award for Best Book for Young Readers, 2016


-- "Lagoon"

-- *Finalist, British Science Fiction Association Award (Best Novel)

-- *Finalist, Red Tentacle Award (Best Novel)

-- *Finalist, SFX Award (Best Novel)

-- *Finalist, Tiptree Award

-- *ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2017


-- "The Book of Phoenix"

-- *Finalist, Arthur C. Clarke Award

-- *Finalist, John W. Campbell Memorial Award

-- *Finalist, Sputnik Award


-- "Ikenga"



-- *Starred Review, School Library Journal

-- *Starred Review, Shelf Awareness


-- "La Guardia"

-- *Hugo Award, 2020