Alumnus Okey Ndibe to Read as Part of Visiting Writers Series

Okey Ndibe

Writer and alumnus Okey Ndibe will give a reading on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Hall as part of the Visiting Writers Series.

Novelist, political commentator, and essayist Ndibe published his latest book, “Foreign Gods, Inc.” in January 2014 to great acclaim. The New York Times called it “razor sharp” and the Los Angeles Times described the novel as “unforgettable.” The Washington Post praised it as “a story of sweeping cultural insight and absurd comedy...rendered with a stoic power that moves the reader more than histrionics possibly could.” Booklist described the novel “as full-blooded and fierce as the war deity who drives the story.”

English professor Stephen Clingman, who directs the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, considers Okey Ndibe “one of a rising generation of transnational African writers whose compass points to the USA and back rather than Europe. His recent novel, “Foreign Gods, Inc.,” is a darkly comic tale of cultural markets, cultural exchange, and an increasingly desperate protagonist trying to improvise survival in the midst of it all.”

A native of Yola, Nigeria, Ndibe teaches African and African diaspora literatures at Brown University. He moved to the U.S. in 1988 after Chinua Achebe invited him to become the founding editor of African Commentary. In the following years, Ndibe earned both his MFA and Ph.D. from UMass Amherst; wrote his first novel, “Arrows of Rain” (published in England in 2000 and the U.S. in 2015); served on the editorial board of the Hartford Courant and published essays and poetry in several anthologies.

Celebrating its 51st year, the Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by the MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative, and made possible by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the UMass Arts Council, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the English department.

The reading is free and open to the public.

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