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Chris Abani

Board of Trustees Professor of English

Ph.D. University of Southern California


Chris Abani teaches Creative Writing (Fiction and Poetry) and Literature. He is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. His fields of interest include African Poetics, World Literature, 20th Century British and American Literature, African Presences in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural Spaces, The Architecture of Cities and their Potential Symbiotic Relationship with their Populations, West African Music, Postcolonial and Transnational Theory, Robotics and Consciousness, Yoruba and Igbo Philosophy and Religion.

His prose includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames; (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985).

His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003) and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001).

He has also written numerous essays, articles, book reviews and critical papers on art, poetry, cities and literature for local and international journals, magazines and newspapers.

His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian and Serbian.

He holds a B.A. in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an M.A. in Gender and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.

He is the recipient of an Edgar Prize from the Mystery Writers of America, PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award.

Chris Abani has taught in numerous countries around the world including countries in sub Saharan Africa (Gambia, Nigeria and South Africa), the Middle East (Qatar), Central Asia (Thailand) and Europe (UK).

He is always at work on multiple projects.

Black Goat Poetry Series

African Poetry Book Fund



Creative Writing


The Secret History of Las Vegas
The Secret History of Las Vegas  (Penguin Books, 2014)
Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)
There Are No Names for Red
There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010)
Feed Me the Sun
Feed Me the Sun (Peepal Tree Press, 2010)
Song For Night
Song For Night (Akashic Books, 2007)
The Virgin of Flames
The Virgin of Flames (Penguin Books, 2007)
Hands Washing Water
Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)
Becoming Abigail
Becoming Abigail (Akashic Books, 2006)
Graceland (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)
Dog Woman
Dog Woman (Red Hen Press, 2004)
Daphne's Lot
Daphne's Lot (Red Hen Press, 2003)
Kalakuta Republic
Kalakuta Republic (Saqi Books, 2001)
Masters of the Board
Masters of the Board (Delta of Nigeria, 1985)

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