Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and a white English mother, Abani was raised in Nigeria and London. The bi-cultural, bi-racial, bi-lingual nature of his upbringing is a consistent theme of his poems and novels. He has a Masters degree and a Ph.D. from USC and a master’s degree from the University of London. He has written fourteen books of prose and poetry including The Secret History of Las Vegas, GraceLand, Daphne’s Lot and Sanctificum. Abani is the recipient of the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the California Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a Guggenheim and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice for several of his books. He is a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.
Portrait photo courtesy the artist.