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Chris Abani, Our 20th Featured Poet | April 4, 2018

Visit an article of our interview with Chris Abani here.

Sample Chris Abani's Poetry

Celebrating Our 20th Year!

Update: Poet Yusef Komunyakaa was originally scheduled for the 2018 event and has had to cancel his appearance. We hope to host him at a future date. Poet/Novelist/Playwright Chris Abani has kindly agreed to step in!

Chris Abani by Claus Gretter

Chris Abani will be on campus Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Come meet the author Dave Eggers calls one of the most courageous writers working today!

10 AM reading and conversation about writing process
8 PM reading followed by Q&A and book signing
6:15 PM community open mic before the evening reading—all are welcome to bring and share their work.

All events are free and open to the public and take place in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of the Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University, at NW 27th and N. McKinley. Copies of the poet’s book will be offered for sale on site by Full Circle Books.

"A self-described 'zealot of optimism,' poet and best-selling novelist Chris Abani bravely travels the charged intersections of atrocity and love, politics and religion, loss and renewal. With language of devastating beauty and complexity, he investigates conflicted personal history and political tragedy, and how the human body fares against both" (Copper Canyon Press).

Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, Abani grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria and received a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria. As a youth he was awakened to activism, and as a result of his writing and voicing opposition to an oppressive government, he was incarcerated as a political prisoner. He later left Nigeria and earned his MA in English, Gender and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and then a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001 and currently holds an endowed professorship at Northwestern University.

He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award.

His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne’s Lot (Red Hen, 2003) and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001).

His fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985).

He is also well known for his TED Talks and journalistic essays focusing on humanitarianism, the social role of art and storytelling, ethics, and our shared political responsibility.

His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian and Serbian.

Please plan to be at Oklahoma City University for the 20th Annual Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series on April 4, 2018: Conversations with Chris Abani. The Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature sponsors this event with support from Oklahoma Humanities and in collaboration with the Petree College of Arts and Sciences, the OKCU English Department, the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, the Oklahoma Writing Project, and Full Circle Bookstore.

Learn more about Chris Abani's books at his website.

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