Okey Ndibe is the author of the novels Never look an American in the eye: A Memoir of flying turtles, colonial ghost, and the making of a Nigerian American, Foreign Gods, Inc. and Arrows of Rain, and co-editor (with Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove) of Writers Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa. Janet Maslin of The New York Times as well as Philadelphia Inquirer, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Mosaic magazine named Foreign Gods, Inc. one of the 10 best books of 2014. The novel was also included in National Public Radio’s list of best books of 2014.
Ndibe earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Brown University in Providence, RI, Trinity College in Hartford, CT (where the student newspaper named him one of 15 professors students should take classes with before graduating), Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA (where he won a new faculty teaching award), Connecticut College in New London, CT (where the student newspaper included him on a list of “five outstanding professors”), and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar).
He first came to the US to be the founding editor of African Commentary, a US-based international magazine published by the late great novelist Chinua Achebe. Among the magazine’s columnists were Achebe, Nadine Gordimer, Kofi Awoonor, Ben Okri, Michael Ekwueme Thelwell, John Edgar Wideman, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and Johnetta Cole.
Ndibe later served as an editorial writer for Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the US, where one of his essays, “Eyes To The Ground: The Perils of the Black Student,” was chosen by the Association of Opinion Page Editors as the best opinion piece in an American newspaper in 2000, and another essay, “Unwarranted Graphic Authentication,” was named the 2001 best opinion piece by the CT chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
His opinion pieces have been published by numerous publications, including The New York Times, BBC online, Al Jazeera online, Financial Times, Fabian Society Journal, and the (Nigerian) Daily Sun, where his widely syndicated weekly column appears. He is currently working on a novel titled Return Flights as well as a non-fiction book, Going Dutch and other American Mis/Adventures, a series of essay vignettes based on his immigrant experiences.
He will spent the 2015-2016 academic year as a Black Mountain Institute fellow at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.