This poetic, genre-bending work—blending memoir with cultural history—from Whiting Award winner Nadia Owusu grapples with the fault lines of identity, the meaning of home, black womanhood, and the ripple effects, both personal and generational, of emotional trauma.
Nadia Owusu grew up all over the world—from Rome and London to Dar-es-Salaam and Kampala. When her mother abandoned her when she was two years old, the rejection caused Nadia to be confused about her identity. Even after her father died when she was thirteen and she was raised by her stepmother, she was unable to come to terms with who she was since she still felt motherless and alone.
When Nadia went to university in America when she was eighteen she still felt as if she had so many competing personas that she couldn’t keep track of them all without cracking under the pressure of trying to hold herself together. A powerful coming-of-age story that explores timely and universal themes of identity, Aftershocks follows Nadia’s life as she hauls herself out of the wreckage and begins to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one she writes into existence.
NADIA OWUSU is a Brooklyn-based writer and urbanist. She was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and raised in Italy, Ethiopia, England, Ghana, and Uganda. Her first book, Aftershocks: A Memoir, was selected as one of 13 new books to watch for in January 2021 by the New York Times, one of BookExpo America’s buzziest books of the year, and one of Oprah.com’s 55 most anticipated books of 2021, among other honors.
Nadia is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire won the Atlas Review chapbook contest. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, the Washington Post’s the Lily, Orion, the Literary Review, The Paris Review Daily, Electric Literature, Catapult, Bon Appétit, Epiphany and others. She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction at the Mountainview low-residency program where she now teaches.