Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Chris is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside and the recipient of so many literary awards which include: The PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, The Prince Claus Award, A Lannan Literary Fellowship, A California Book Award, A Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award and the PEN Hemingway Book Prize.
He is best known to many of us as the Nigerian author, who at the age of 18 wrote “Masters of the Board” - a story about a Neo-Nazi takeover of Nigeria. This publication earned him a six month jail sentence in 1985 which turned out to be the first of many.
Subsequent writings meant that he was twice - after his initial release - a guest of the Nigerian junta. On the third occasion, he was sentenced to death. He was freed in 1991 and lived in exile in London until 1999 before ‘departing’ to the USA.
Chris is an accomplished jazz musician who plays saxophone sets at his public poetry performances. Now based in Los Angeles, Abani published The Virgin of Flames in 2007. He is also a publisher, running the poetry imprint Black Goat Press.
He is one of the best writers of his generation.
Official web site
Song for Night
Graceland (Today Show Pick January 2005)
The Virgin of Flames
Hands Washing Water
Feed Me the Sun: Collected Long Poems