Chris Abani

b. 1967
Chris Abani

Chris Abani was born in Nigeria and published his first novel, Masters of the Board (1985), when he was a teenager. The Nigerian authorities believed the book, a political thriller about a government coup, was a blueprint for an actual coup and imprisoned him. Eventually released, Abani continued to argue for the overthrow of the government and was jailed again, this time in Nigeria’s notorious Kiri Kiri prison. During his year in Kiri Kiri, Abani was tortured and underwent months of solitary confinement. He was freed in 1991 and eventually escaped Nigeria and moved to England. He became a resident of the United States in 1999. Influenced by his traumatic life experiences, Abani’s work deals with the corrosive effects of poverty, crime, and political instability on individuals.

Poems

What People are Saying

"I was surprised how attached I got to my poems. I've had "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" memorized since my sophomore year, and whenever I get nervous or anxious about something I recite it to myself. "
Sarah Calvin-Stupfel
2018 OR POL Champ