Akwaeke Emezi with J Mase III
We are thrilled to welcome back, albeit virtually, novelist Akwaeke Emezi, who now has two acclaimed books out since their appearance at Elliott Bay for the astounding debut novel, Freshwater, only two years ago. Occasioning this occasion is publication of The Death of Vivek Oji (Riverhead), a new novel for adults - and what a novel it is. The fate of the central character is given in the book’s title, then is spelled out in its very first words.
“Akwaeke Emezi is one of the most daring, blazingly imaginative young writers at work today. Their debut novel, Freshwater, was a coming-of-age tale of a girl of Igbo ethnicity born with multiple selves, each under the domain of a different ogbanje, dark spirits of the Igbo belief system, was a breath of fresh air when it was released in early 2018. Their new novel, a Nigeria-set mystery, begins with a mother opening her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. We then follow this mysterious, somewhat unknowable child, Vivek, through childhood, adolescence and adulthood as he navigates his disorienting blackouts, an emotionally distant father, and a close bond with his cousin, all leading up to “a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.” –Dan Sheehan, Lithub.
“One of the best books of 2020. . . . a vivid, propulsive experience. . . . about freedom and our capacity to imagine what it’s like to be someone else, or perhaps, more so, what it’s like to experience them as they are.” — Goop. Between writing Freshwater and The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi has also written a YA novel, PET, which was a National Book Award finalist.
Appearing in conversation with Akwaeke Emezi this evening will be Seattle-based Black/trans/queer poet & educator J Mase III. He is the author of the poetry collection, If I Should Die Under the Knife, Tell my Kidney I was the Fiercest Poet Around, and the more recent And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment, and Inappropriate Jokes about Death.
Co-presented by The Seattle Public Library and Elliott Bay Book Company.