Black Panther is in the news again and if there is anything to establish the fact that Wakanda truly lives forever (for all of you who have been in doubt about it) this huge announcement is one of the many that prove it. This time, T’Challa takes a step back and gives his sister, Princess Shuri the spotlight with her own comic series!
For all you Black Panther and Princess Shuri fans, the brave and beautiful princess who won the hearts of many will be the main character of a comic spinoff, and who better to make this a reality than Nigerian–American author and Queen of Fantasy and Sci-fi Nnedi Okorafor.
Nnedi Okorafor made the big announcement on her twitter about the comic series which is set to see its first release in October 2018. The series will follow Princess Shuri, tech wiz of Wakanda, and her challenges after her brother goes missing in space!
While this seems an exciting warm-up for fans as they patiently wait for the second part of the motion picture, it is also an even more exciting news to hear that an African writer is breaking bounds in the sci-fi scene.
Many avid readers of Sci-Fi will admit that for many years, Octavia Butler has been the only African-American dominating the scene leaving the sci-fi genre in dying need of a fresh voice. Finally, readers will not have to wait any longer because Nnedi Nkemidili Okorafor is the Nigerian–American author taking over the Sci-Fi scene in Africa and the world.
Nnedi Okorafor ‘s short stories have been published in many anthologies such as Enkare Review, Reading the Bones, and Writers of the Future, Volume XVIII and many others. In 2001, Nnedi received the 2001 Hurston-Wright Literary award for her short story amphibious Green. Shortly after, the writer published her first books for Young Adults, Zara the Windseeker, which was published in 2005. The book took a while to win the hearts of many but marked the beginning of an amazing career for the author focusing on African Sci-fi and fantasy.
After gaining grounds, Zara the Windseeker was highly praised and said to be a breath of fresh air by many readers, critics and book reviews. The book went on to win the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature and was shortlisted for several literary awards including the Parallax Awards.
With fans hungry for more, Nnedi thrilled the writing schene with more books. She published another book for young adults The Shadow Speaker (2009) and the novel, Long Juju Man in 2009 which won the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa. By this time, Nnedi had stirred up great excitement and conversation about a Nigerian writer in the sci-fi /fantasy scene.
Since 2005 Nnedi has published over 30 books including comics. Her most popular books include Kabu Kabu(2013), Akata Witch (2011), Binti, The Book of Phoenix and Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi which was published in 2018.
Her books have been nominated for several awards across the globe and she has worked with Marvel on comic books such as the recently released Black Panther; Love Live the King and Wakanda Forever. Many of her books are in the early stages hitting the screens.
So what sets Nnedi apart as a fantasy and sci-fi writer? It is definitely the easy way she blends African myths and fantasy with science specifically ones form her Igbo and Nigerian background.
Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States of America to two Igbo parents who moved to America to study but were unable to return home due to the Nigerian Civil War. After the war, however, her parents made sure that the family visited Nigeria often to remind the children of their roots.
The young Nigerian American began to make a name for herself as a tennis player but could not continue after being diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13; a condition that worsened with time. After a while, Nnedi turned to write during a summer of a therapy session and continued after not being able to play tennis any longer due to her condition.
The inability to play began a writing journey that would see her graduate from Michigan State University with a masters degree in journalism and a PhD in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Nnedi lives with her family in the USA where she works as a professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Buffalo. She spends her leisure time reading and writing.
With Queen Nnedi on the throne representing Africa, we expect more books from her fantasy fingers and the encouragement of more sci-fi writers from Africa.
For now, we wait for October 2018 for the release of Shuri!