Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Say you're one of them by Uwem Akpan

Say you're one of them
by Uwem Akpan
Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (2008)
368 pp., $23.99

Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in Ikot Ekpene Diocese in southern Nigeria. He was educated in Nigeria, Kenya, Nebraska, Washington, and at the University of Michigan, where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003; in 2007, he began teaching at Arrupe College, a Jesuit school of philosophy and humanities in Zimbabwe. He first came to the attention of the reading public with two short stories in The New Yorker, followed by a collection of stories, Say You're One of Them, published by Little, Brown in 2008 to great acclaim. In April of that year, he spoke with Susan Felch at a session of Calvin College's biennial Festival of Faith and Writing. An edited excerpt from their extended conversation follows.

Are all of the stories in Say You're One of Them like the stories in The New Yorker? Are they all about children from Africa and written from the point of view of these children?

The five pieces—two novellas, two short stories, and one short short story—are all about children, issues that affect children; but what I tried to do was to tell these stories from different perspectives. One of the novellas, "Luxurious Hearses," is narrated in the third person, but it's still about the plight of a child stuck in a bus, traveling from northern Nigeria to southern Nigeria.

The rest of the interview can be found on Christianity Today
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