Writing for a Broken World

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MARCH 17, 2022 | 4-5:30PM

Writing for a Broken World is a conversation series that features widely known contemporary novelists, poets, playwrights, or other literary artists engaged in dialogue about race, ethnicity, and/or indigeneity and their inspirations, influences, and method.

In this discussion, award-winning fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor, Ph.D. will share reflections on the power of Black speculative fiction to impact current racial injustices. In conversation with Matthew Guterl, Professor of American Studies and Africana Studies, she will discuss her work and her hopes for its role in the world.

About the Speaker

Nnedi Okorafor is an international, award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. She's the author of the Black Panther comics from Marvel Comics, with a movie adaptation that became a world-wide sensation! She's authored a spinoff graphic novel, Wakanda Forever, with a movie to follow. Her other comics include Antar: the Black Knight (IDW/Mirage Films), and LaGuardia. Author George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and HBO are turning Nnedi's adult novel, Who Fears Death, into a TV series. The Book of Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death) was heralded by the NY Times as a "triumph".

Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture and folklore into creative, evocative settings with memorable characters. She's considered by many to be the successor to Ursula LeGuin for her literary quality fantasy and sci-fi creations. She's a multi NYTimes bestselling author, and her many literary awards include a Nebula and Hugo Award. She has a passionate YA following for her Binti series, and the Akata Witch books. Her children's book Chicken in the Kitchen won an Africana Book Award. Akata Witch 2: Akata Warrior, and Binti 2: Home, are now out in paperback. She holds a PhD in English.


Matthew Guterl is a historian of race and nation, with a focus on United States history from the Civil War to the present. He has written four books. The first on race and the Progressive Era, the second on Southern slaveholders and the Caribbean, the third on the history of and cultural context for racial profiling, and the fourth on the life of Josephine Baker. He has also co-authored, with Caroline Levander, a book on the politics of the modern hotel. Right now, he is working on a global biography of the queer, cosmopolitan, human rights activist, Roger Casement, and a book on class-passing, cross-dressing, and race-passing. At Brown, he teaches small and large undergraduate classes on American political and popular culture, and graduate classes on race and culture.

He earned his BA degree from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 1993, and his PhD in History from Rutgers University in 1999. Before coming to Brown, he taught at Washington State University and Indiana University. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Museum of American History, Yale University, Rice University, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. In 2010, he was the winner of the Mary C. Turpie Prize, given by the American Studies Association, for distinguished teaching, service, and program development in that field.


Through a special partnership with the Brown Bookstore, thirty copies of Binti: The Complete Trilogy will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. CSREA is also proud to partner with the Providence Public Library to supply twenty copies to young readers at the Downtown branch.