Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly. Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie. As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti's political coming of age, Okparanta's Under the Udala Trees uses one woman's lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope -- a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love. Acclaimed by Vogue, the Financial Times, and many others, Chinelo Okparanta continues to distill "experience into something crystalline, stark but lustrous" (New York Times Book Review). Under the Udala Trees marks the further rise of a star whose "tales will break your heart open" (New York Daily News).
A triumphant love story that follows the life of one woman from the chaos of Nigeria's 1968 civil war through forbidden first love, loss, marriage and motherhood
Winner of Lambda Literary Awards 2016 - for Lesbian Fiction
CHINELO OKPARANTA was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and moved with her family to the US at the age of ten. She received her BSc from Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University and her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her stories have been featured in the New Yorker and Granta. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. She is a winner of a 2014 Lambda Literary Award, a 2016 Lambda Literary Award, the 2016 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award in Fiction, and of a 2014 O. Henry Prize.