Say You're One of Them (Paperback)
July 2008 Indie Next List
“Say You're One of Them is a collection of stories, each about a different child in Africa dealing with a difficult life. While the circumstances are described with brutal honesty, the characters are multidimensional and are treated with compassion. This is not an easy read, but the crisp, detailed writing makes it worthwhile.”
— Sarah Farnsworth, Briggs Carriage Bookstore, Brandon, VT
Each story in this jubilantly acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.
A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family's struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle's attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees-a microcosm of today's Africa-a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear.
Uwem Akpan's debut signals the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer who gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances in stories that are nothing short of transcendent.
About the Author
Uwem Akpan was born inIkot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at theCatholic Universityof Eastern Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from theUniversity of Michiganin 2006. "My Parents' Bedroom," a story from hisshort story collection, "Say You're One of Them," was one offive short storiesby African writers chosen as finalists for TheCaine Prizefor African Writing 2007."Say You're One of Them"won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) 2009 and PEN/Beyond Margins Award 2009, and was finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.In 2007, Akpan taught at a Jesuit college inHarare, Zimbabwe.Now he serves atChristthe King Church, Ilasamaja-Lagos, Nigeria."