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Nnedi Okorafor Tells the Story of How Publishers Once Tried to Whitewash Her Book Cover

Science fiction novelist, Nnedi Okorafor, took to Twitter yesterday to share her experience with whitewashing in the literary world.

The Shadow Speaker is a 2007 novel by award-winning science fiction writer, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor—who we recently honored on OkayAfrica's 100 Women list.


The book is set in  Niger and its protagonist is a black, Muslim girl named Eji. Depite this description of the book's main character, Okorafor's publisher, at the time, thought it made sense to put an image of a white character on the book's cover.

Okorafor shared this story, yesterday, during a discussion on Twitter about racism in the literary world. She posted a photo, comparing the suggested cover image with the one that she ended up using.

"I described Ejii as "black skinned" and subsaharan African," she wrote. "Story set in NIGER and that left cover was proposed to me. WTF."

But it's not only the publishing companies who contribute to the whitewashing of narratives in science fiction, it's readers too, says Okorafor. In 2016, the author won the Hugo Award for her book Binti. Her win was heavily contested by an anti-progressive group aptly called the Sad Puppies, who basically exist to make sure that women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community remain underrepresented in science fiction. To combat this, Okorafor says that change needs to come from readers.

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Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images.

Cameroonian Author Imbolo Mbue's Next Novel Has Been Picked Up by Penguin Random House

The second novel from the mind behind "Behold the Dreamers" is set to tell another poignant, but relatable story on the African experience.

The second novel from Cameroon's own Imbolo Mbue is in the works, Brittle Paper reports.

How Beautiful We Were, the novel's current title, has been acquired by Penguin Random House for its North American rights. The publisher says the book is "a story told through multiple perspectives about what happens when an African village decides to fight back against an American oil company that is destroying their land."

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Photo of Nnedi Okorafor by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

Nnedi Okorafor's Highly-Anticipated Memoir, 'Broken Places & Outer Spaces,' Is Here

This is the first work of non-fiction to come from the prolific science fiction writer.

Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed Nigerian-American science fiction, fantasy and magical realism writer, has released her first work of non-fiction, Brittle Paper reports.

Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected is her memoir chronicling the journey from being a star athlete to facing paralysis—to her eventual creative awakening. Published by TED Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, the prolific author gives us a powerful example and guide of how our perceived limitations can have the potential to become our greatest strengths.

"I've been writing this on and off since it all happened," she explains in a thread on Twitter. "The original manuscript is over 300 pages. I *needed* to record every detail while they were fresh, so there are parts of this book that I wrote while I still wasn't quite able to walk."

Here's a snippet of the synopsis from the publisher below:

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Watch Zozibini Tunzi's Interview on 'Sway In The Morning'

The newly-crowned Miss Universe says that "if we start instilling leadership in young girls, then they grow up to be the leaders we need in the future."

It's been a few days since Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi was crowned this year's Miss Universe. While South Africans and the world are still reeling from the fact that a dark-skinned woman wearing her natural hair (in a fade, mind you) was crowned Miss Universe, Tunzi has already hit the ground running with her international press tour.

Currently in New York City, she stopped by for an interview on Sway in the Morning.

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Kwesta and Rick Ross’ Collaboration is Finally Here

Kwesta releases new single featuring Rick Ross, accompanied by a music video.

Around this time last year, Kwesta shared images from a video shoot for a song that features Rick Ross. Today, the South African rapper finally shared the song accompanied by a music video.

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