Chika Unigwe, pushing boundaries

Chika is Creative Director of the Awele Creative Trust, and she was a judge for the Man Booker International Prize in 2016.

Chika Unigwe

Chika Unigwe is a Nigerian writer who now lives in the United States. She is the author of four novels, as well as numerous short stories and essays.

Following her marriage to a Belgian engineer, Chika moved to Turnhout in Flanders, Belgium’s Dutch-speaking region.

In 1996, she obtained an MA in English from the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), and then earned a PhD from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in 2004, for her dissertation entitled “In the Shadow of Ala: Igbo Women Writing as an Act of Righting”.

Chika then went on to spend two years in Seattle from 2000 to 2002, but otherwise resided in Belgium until 2013. During that time, she pursued her writing career, but also engaged in other activities, such as sitting on the Turnhout town council and teaching Flemish to immigrants.

In 2013, she moved to the Atlanta area in the USA.

Since September 2016, she has been Bonderman Professor of Creative Writing at Brown University, Providence RI, USA.

Over the years, Chika has received many prestigious awards and distinctions.

A selection of these include: winner of the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition for the short story “Borrowed Smile”, winner of the 2012 NLNG Prize for Literature, for the novel "On Black Sisters’ Street".

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