Faith is the daughter of a Nordic-American single mother and a Nigerian politico father, She was raised as the sole African girl in a small farming community in Washington State and attended Harvard on scholarship.
After Harvard, she moved into the forests of Southeast Asia and became the first black Buddhist nun of Thailand. Her memoir about this experience, Meeting Faith (W.W. Norton & Co.), received the 2005 PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir (of 2004).
Her trip to Nigeria inspired the PBS documentary "My Journey Home," produced by award-winning filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña and written and narrated by me. Her work, called both “luminous” (O Magazine) and “remarkable” (Book-of-the-Month Club), has been widely published and anthologized, credited with “[reaching] into the expanding geography of black women’s experiences” (Belles Lettres). Honors/fellowships include a UNESCO International Artists Bursary (Italy); Best American Essays shortlist; the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada); The Sacatar Foundation (Brasil); the Yaddo Corporation; the MacDowell Colony; The Millennium Award from Creative Nonfiction; Djerassi Artists Resident Program; the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation; and PEN New England.
Other books include The Student Body (Random House/Villard Books), a satirical thriller co-written with three college pals and chosen as one of Cosmo’s Top 10 Beach Reads of 1998 and the international anthology, Coming of Age Around the World (The New Press).
A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Nonfiction Writing Program, Faith has lived in West Africa and Southeast Asia and worked as a community activist and diversity trainer. After teaching writing all over the world, she is now settled in Oakland, California, where she is serving as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College and hard at work on Twins: Growing Up Nigerian/Nordic/American, a memoir and cultural history that will complete the story begun in the documentary film.
Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun
Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology
Biography - Adiele, Faith (E.): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online