Nigerian Novelist Reads From His Award-Winning 'The Fisherman'
Chigozie Obioma has seen a lot of success at a young age. While he was still in his 20s, the Nigerian writer penned a successful first novel, The Fisherman, received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan and secured a place as professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Fisherman (2015), his remarkable debut, was awarded numerous literary honors, including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Debut Author) and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In addition to being named a 2015 best book of the year on more than a dozen lists, The Fisherman was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, The Guardian First Book Award and other prestigious honors.
Obioma’s work has been compared to the seminal writings of another acclaimed Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe (1930-2013). Both men’s stories—Things Fall Apart (Achebe) and The Fisherman—have popularized African culture by exploring powerful family dramas with refreshing honesty and vibrancy.
The Fisherman is an intimate parable set in modern-day Nigeria and narrated by the family’s youngest son, 9-year-old Benjamin. After Benjamin’s father is forced to leave their rural village to find work, Benjamin and his brothers cause minor mischief at home, skip school and spend lazy days on a once-glorious and life-giving river that is now choked with trash and refuse. When the boys stumble upon a village elder who prophesizes that one of them will be killed by a sibling, the unfortunate omen intensifies the bad luck that will ultimately tear the family apart.
Chigozie Obioma will speak at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the Nigerian Community Conference Center, 8310 W. Appleton Ave. This free event is co-sponsored by Boswell Book Co.