Title Profile & Character Information

Say You're One of Them

Annotation
Uwem Akpan's first published short story, "An Ex-mas Feast," appeared inThe New Yorker's Debut Fiction issue in 2005. The story's portrait of a family living together in a makeshift shanty in urbanKenya, and their attempts to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday, gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances--and signaled the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer.

"My Parents' Bedroom" is a Rwandan girl's account of her family's struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. In "Fat tening forGabon," a brother and sister cope with their uncle's attempt to sell them into slavery. "Luxurious Hearses" creates a microcosm of Africa within a busload of refugees and introduces us to a Muslim boy who summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride throughNigeria. "What Language Is That?" reveals the emotional toll of the Christian-Muslim conflict inEthiopiathrough the eyes of childhood friends. Every story is a testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing situations our planet can offer.

Awards
2009  Commonwealth Writers Prize
2009  Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
2008  Library Journal Best Books of the Year