Nnedi shares about the book, "I started writing Who Fears Death just after my father passed in 2004. I was very very close to my father and writing was my way of staying sane. I based My Father’s Face [a chapter in the book] on a moment I experienced at my father’s wake when everyone had cleared out of the room and I found myself alone with his body. I was kneeling there looking at his face, thinking how much it no longer looked like him and how terrible that was. My morbid thoughts were driving me into deeper despair. Then suddenly I felt an energy move though me. This energy felt highly destructive, as if it could bring down the entire building. Almost all the details in the scene I went on to write were true, I felt them…well, up to the part where Onyesonwu makes her father’s body breath. As soon as I wrote that scene, everything else rushed at me. My father’s passing caused me to think about death, fear, the unknown, sacrifice, destiny and cosmic trickery."
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Written By: Nicole-Parker Jones—Nigerian writer Nnedi Okorafor is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. She is know for her young adult fantasy novels, including Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker. Her latest novel, Who Fears Death, is set in a post-apocalyptic futuristic desert in Saharan Africa, and follows a young sorceress Onyesonwu (born Ewu)—whose name means "who fears death?" As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling that Nnedi is known to deliver.