nnedi okorafor non-fiction debut broken places outer spaces

Nnedi Okorafor Announces Non-Fiction Debut, ‘Broken Places & Outer Spaces’

Who doesn't want to read a science fiction inspired memoir?

Nigerian-American science fiction and fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor recently (October 15) took to social media to announce her first non-fiction foray. Titled Broken Places & Outer Spaces, the novel is set to be published by Simon & Schuster’s TED Books imprint which aims to publish short books that expound on authors and big ideas.

Described by Okorafor as “part memoir, part science fiction, part lots of things”, Broken Places & Outer Spaces will delve into the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author’s past to unveil her science fiction journey, according to the official book blurb:

Nnedi Okorafor was never supposed to be paralyzed. A college track star and budding entomologist, Nnedi’s lifelong battle with scoliosis was just a bump in her plan—something a simple operation would easily correct. But when Nnedi wakes from the surgery to find she can’t move her legs, her entire sense of self begins to waver. Confined to a hospital bed for months, unusual things begin to happen. Psychedelic bugs crawl her hospital walls; strange dreams visit her nightly. Nnedi begins to put these experiences into writing, conjuring up strange, fantastical stories. What Nnedi discovers during her confinement would prove to be the key to her life as a successful science fiction author: In science fiction, when something breaks, something greater often emerges from the cracks.

In Broken Places & Outer Spaces, Nnedi takes the reader on a journey from her hospital bed deep into her memories, from her painful first experiences with racism as a child in Chicago to her powerful visits to her parents’ hometown in Nigeria. From Frida Kahlo to Mary Shelly, she examines great artists and writers who have pushed through their limitations, using hardship to fuel their work. Through these compelling stories and her own, Nnedi reveals a universal truth: What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths—far greater than when we were unbroken.

In the novella-length memoir, Okorafor, who infuses her Nigerian heritage into her science fiction stories (most notably the Binti novellas and the young adult series, Akata Witch), will not only delve into her past and inspirations but will also touch on the question of: “What is Africanfuturism?”

Set to be published in June 2019, Broken Places & Outer Spaces is meant to serve as “a guidebook for anyone eager to understand how their limitations might actually be used as a creative springboard.”

Will you be reading Nnedi Okorafor’s non-fiction debut?

Let us know in the comments below!

Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer
Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.