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Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

“Chika Unigwe is one of the most probing, thought-provoking writers of the recent renaissance in African fiction. Many of these are female, bringing hitherto submerged stories about African women to the fore.”[1]

She was born 1974 in Enugu, Nigeria and currently resides in Belgium. “She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and an MA from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She also holds a PhD from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, having completed a thesis entitled “In the shadow of Ala. Igbo women writing as an act of righting” in 2004.” [2]

When asked if we’re experiencing an African Renaissance, Ugandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko said that we’re definitely experiencing a renaissance and shift as Chika’s new novel ‘On Black Sisters’ Street’ was a complete departure from the norm.[3]

In a New York Times review of “On Black Sisters’ Street”: Unigwe conveys both what is miraculous about the West to foreign eyes and what is awful — how people live and die alone, unmourned, without the sustenance of family and neighbors. [4]

Writer Zukiswa Wanner listed Chika Unigwe as one of her top five African writers for the Guardian[5]

Read her Caine Prize shortlisted story: “Happy Independence Day“.


  1. Tear Drops, 1993.
  2. Born in Nigeria, 1995.
  3. A Rainbow for Dinner, 2003.
  4. In the Shadow of Ala; Igbo women’s writing as an act of righting. Dissertation, Leiden University, 2004.
  5. Thinking of Angel, 2005.
  6. Dreams, 2004.
  7. The Phoenix, 2007.
  8. On Black Sisters’ Street, 2009.
  9. Night Dancer, 2011.


  1. Bernadine Evaristo, “Night Dancer by Chika Unigwe – review”, The Guardian UK, 3 August 2012. [Accessed 31 August 2012] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/03/night-dancer-chika-unigwe-review)
  2. Chika Unigwe, Biography on Official Website, Belgium. [Accessed 20 September 2012] (http://www.chikaunigwe.com)
  3. Mora Gitaa, “Conversations with Emerging Young ‘African’ Literati at 2009 Story Moja Hay Festival – Kenya”, Moraa Gitaa- Blog Kenya. [Accessed 31 August 2012] (http://www.moraagitaa.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=3&Itemid=54&limitstart=18)
  4. Fernanda Eberstadt, “Tales From the Sex Trade’, The New York Times USA, 29 April 2011. [Accessed 20 September 2011] (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/books/review/book-review-on-black-sisters-street-by-chika-unigwe.html?_r=0)
  5. Zukiswa Wanner, “Zukiswa Wanner’s top five African Writers”, The Guardian UK, 6 September 2012. [Accessed 20 September 2012] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/06/top-african-writers-zukiswa-wanner)