Chinelo Okparanta (born 1981) is a Nigerian-American novelist and short-story writer. She was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, where she was raised until the age of 10, when she emigrated to the United States with her family.
== Early life ==
Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and at the age of 10 migrated with her family to the US. She was educated at Pennsylvania State University (Schreyer Honors College), Rutgers University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
== Career ==
Okparanta has published short stories in publications including Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, Conjunctions, Subtropics and The Coffin Factory, and has held fellowships or visiting professorships at The University of Iowa, Colgate University, Purdue University, City College of New York, and Columbia University. She is Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing (Fiction) at Bucknell University, where she is also Margaret Hollinshead Ley Professor in Poetry & Creative Writing. Her essays have appeared in AGNI, The Story Prize blog, and the University of Iowa International Writing Program blog.Her debut short-story collection, Happiness, Like Water (Granta Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), was longlisted for the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. She has been nominated for a United States Artists Fellowship and was a finalist for the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in Literature. Other honors include the 2013 Society of Midland Authors Award (finalist), the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing (finalist),.
Her story "Fairness" was 2014 included in The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, among 20 short stories of this year.Happiness, Like Water was an Editors' Choice for The New York Times Book Review on September 20, 2013. The collection was also listed as one of The Guardian's Best African Fiction of 2013, and in December 2014 was announced as being a finalist for the Nigerian Etisalat Prize for Literature. In 2015, she became a faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University.Her first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was published in 2015. The New York Times reviewer called Okparanta "a graceful and precise writer", and The Guardian (UK) describes the book as "a gripping novel about a young gay woman's coming of age in Nigeria during the Nigerian civil war..." in which "...Okparanta deftly negotiates a balance between a love story and a war story."Under the Udala Trees was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice as well as a nominee for the 2015 Kirkus Reviews Prize in Fiction. One of NPR's "Best Books of 2015", it also made the Buzzfeed, The Wall Street Journal, The Millions, Bustle, Shelf Awareness, and Publishers Lunch "Best of" and "Most Anticipated" lists, among others. It was long-listed for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction, nominated for the 2016 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in Fiction, a finalist for the 2016 Publishing Triangle Literary Awards (the Ferro-Grumley Award), a semi-finalist for the 2016 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, long-listed for the 2016 Chautauqua Prize, and won the 2016 Lambda Literary Award in the General Lesbian Fiction category.Under the Udala Trees also won the 2016 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award in Fiction and was a 2017 Amelia Bloomer Project Selection of the American Library Association.In 2017, Okparanta won the Publishing Triangle's 2016 inaugural Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award. Under the Udala Trees was also shortlisted for the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award.Pulse Nigeria named Under the Udala Trees one of its 10 Outstanding Nigerian Books for 2015. YNaija listed it as one of its Ten Most Notable Books of 2015. Afridiaspora listed it as one of the Best African Novels of 2015.In April 2017, Okparanta was selected by Granta for their once in a decade Best of Young American Novelists list.
== Bibliography ==
Happiness, Like Water (short stories), 2013
Under the Udala Trees (novel), 2015
== References ==
== Further reading ==
"Chinelo Okparanta". Current Biography. 77. August 8, 2016. by Christopher Mari, ISSN 0011-3344 pp. 73–77
Igarashi, Yuka (February 2, 2012). "Chihelo Okaparanta Interview". Granta.
== External links ==
"‘Everyone Should Be An Artist, I Think.’ An Interview With Chinelo Okparanta", Short Story Day Africa, March 23, 2016.
Sarah Ládípọ̀ Manyika, "The Nigerian-American Writer Who Takes On Taboos", OZY.com, December 19, 2017.
"Emmanuel Sigauke Interviews Chinelo Okparanta", Munyori Literary Journal, 2013
Under the Udala trees, summary, Publishers Weekly, 2015
Melissa Mordi, "Chinelo Okparanta - the Power of Women, Writing and Writing Women" (interview), The Guardian (Nigeria), 11 March 2019.