News UK

The 4th Annual Igbo Conference Preview Series: Nnedi Okorafor

By Chigbo JP  Ibe

When:  Day 2, Saturday 18th April 7pm (Keynote Address)

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction. Some of her publicised books consist of Zaharah The Windseeker, The Shadow Speaker, Long Juju Man, Iridessa and The Secret of the Never Mine, Akata Witch 1& 2, Who Fears Daeth Moom (Short Story), Kabu-Kabu, Lagoon. Next month she will be releasing her next novel The Book of The Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death)



What part of Igboland are you from?

I am from Imo State. My father is from Arondizuogu, and my mother is from Isiekenesi .



Author and Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, NY.


What made you decide to get involved with this year’s Igbo Conference?

Key words: Igbo, Womanhood, Conference. Heck yeah.


Favourite Igbo female figure, and why?

My favourite Igbo female figure is my mother, Dr. Helen Okorafor.

Why? because despite growing up within a deeply patriarchal Igbo society where the epitome of a woman’s success was measured in how many children she birthed, my mother was Valedictorian of her high school and university classes, one of Nigeria’s top athletes in college (she made the Olympic team in the javelin), and went on to become a Midwife, registered nurse and earn her PhD in health administration.

She raised  three infants (my two sisters and I are each a year apart) while finishing her PhD. My mother showed me by example how to be magnificent.


Do you feel the role of Igbo women has changed over the last 50 years if so how?

Yes. I think Igbo women have a greater variety of role models to choose from,  to emulate, or just learn from. Examples are good because they show us possibility outside of our dreams; possibility in action.

Though there is resistance by those who don’t want to see change and think that culture is stagnant (as opposed to alive and adjusting to the times), it’s clear that the role of the Igbo woman in Igbo community has become more diverse (just as the role of the Igbo man has), which is a good thing in my opinion.



What are the biggest challenges facing the Igbo women today?

The confidence to pursue her dreams, hopes and aspirations, even when they go against what is expected of her.



Its 2020 and you have been elected the first Nigerian female President, what are the first 3 changes you will make?

All I’ll say is that if I were President of Nigeria, I’d fire a lot of government officials, from the top to the lower level.  I would spend a lot of time with my administration vetting those who are hired to replace them.


How can people contact you?

I’m @Nnedi on Twitter and my website is 



The Igbo Conference Team in conjunction with The Centre for African Studies, SOAS Univeristy of London presents “The 4th Annual Igbo Conference: Igbo Womanhood, Womanbeing and Personhood”  Friday 17th – Saturday 18th April 2015
This conference seeks to engage with various conceptions of Igbo womanhood, in relation to the changing position of Igbo women and the changing practices in Igbo culture. It will explore Igbo traditions in relation to the role and status of women and examine the numerous social and political contributions made by Igbo women.
This year we have a wide range of   plenary panels, roundtable discussions, workshops and film screenings.
Prices range between £25 – £50
Find out more here