#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter O

Nnedi Okorafor

I first read Nnedi Okorafor’s novel Who Fears Death. I love her creativity. She imagines details that are so specific and unusual. What sticks with me from this story is a group of desert nomads who live in the calm eye of a dust storm.

She has written so many other books since this one. Where should you start if you are just picking up her work?

I think her most accessible series starts with Binti.

These three novellas tell the story of a Himba girl who leaves her home to go to an interstellar university against the will of her family. It is hard to tell the rest of the story without spoilers but the experience changes her and her relationship to the people she left behind on Earth.

I’m also a big fan of her middle grade novel, Zahrah the Windseeker. I think I mainly like the fact that buildings and computers are grown like plants in this world.

One of her early works has recently been reissued and have followups. This is my hipster moment when I can say I read Shadow Speaker before it was cool!

If you want to get a brief taste to see if she is to your liking she has several short stories. I recommend Just Out of Jupiter’s Reach for the sentient spaceships.

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

Lagoon is a standalone alien first contact story that takes place in Lagos Nigeria.

She also has written many graphic novels both of her own ideas and for Marvel. There are other YA series and adult books too. She has books for everyone.