Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1961 to a Scottish mother and an Igbo father. She was adopted by a white couple at birth and was brought up in Glasgow, studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Stirling University where she read English.

The experience of being adopted by and growing up within a white family inspired her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers (1991). The poems deal with an adopted child's search for a cultural identity and are told through three different voices: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter. The collection won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award and a commendation by the Forward Poetry Prize judges in 1992. The poems in Other Lovers (1993) explore the role and power of language, inspired and influenced by the history of Afro-Caribbean people, the story of a search for identity grounded in the experience of slavery. The collection includes a sequence of poems about the blues-singer Bessie Smith. Off Colour (1998) explores themes of sickness, health and disease through personal experience and metaphor. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and she has written widely for stage and television.

Her first novel, Trumpet, published in 1998, was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Inspired by the life of musician Billy Tipton, the novel tells the story of Scottish jazz trumpeter Joss Moody whose death revealed that he was, in fact, a woman. Kay develops the narrative through the voices of Moody's wife, his adopted son and a journalist from a tabloid newspaper. Her books, Why Don't You Stop Talking (2002) and Wish I Was Here (2006), are collections of short stories, and she has also published a novel for children, Strawgirl (2002). Her collection of poetry for children, Red, Cherry Red (2007) won the 2008 CLPE Poetry Award.

Her novella, Sonata, was published in 2006; her book of poems Darling: New and Selected Poems in 2007; and her dramatised poem, The Lamplighter, in 2008. The Lamplighter was shortlisted for the 2009 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award. Her Maw Broon Monologues, performed at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, and combining rhythmic verse and music, were shortlisted for the 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

Her latest book is Red Dust Road (2010), a memoir about meeting her Nigerian birth father. Jackie Kay lives in Manchester. In 2006, she was awarded an MBE for services to literature.

Source: Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Chioma Nnamaka

Chioma Nnamaka (born June 15, 1985 in Uppsala, Uppland, Sweden) is a professional basketball player of Swedish and Igbo heritage She is a member of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream.

Chioma attended high school at Fryshusets Kunskaps Centrum. Playing basketball, she won the Swedish Championship on three occasions. Nnamaka then went to the United States to attend Georgia Tech. She made the Dean's list studying International Affairs, and played basketball for the Yellow Jackets.

Nnamaka was selected 21st overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars with their first pick. She was the highest draft pick ever chosen from Georgia Tech. She was then traded on the same day to the expansion team Atlanta Dream, where she completed her rookie season.

On January 14, 2009 Nnamaka was waived by the Dream, she currently plays for Union Hainaut in France.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Chinonye Chukwu

One to watch

Chinonye Chukwu, a third-year MFA candidate at Temple University, is a Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised screenwriter and director. Artistically, she is most concerned with images that are rich with cultural nuances, often dealing with the complex and contradictory issues of ethnic identity, black female identity and cross-cultural (cross-generational) interaction.

Chinonye’s most recently completed film, Igbo Kwenu!, is the recipient of the PIFVA Subsidy Grant from the independent film community and both the “Best Motion Picture Award” and “Best Screenplay Award” at the 2009 Diamond Screen Festival.

She was also a recipient of a 2009 Princess Grace Award. Presented by the Royal Family of Monaco, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA honors six student filmmakers in the nation.

Currently, she is in finishing up production on another fiction narrative, this time exploring the gentrification of North Philadelphia through a little girl’s desire to be a ballerina.

Born in Rivers State and raised in Fairbanks, Chinonye hails from Otulu in Mbaise.