African Book Club | AFTERSHOCKS: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu
THE AFRICAN BOOK CLUB @ MOAD
An ongoing series in partnership with Faith Adiele. April’s book selection is Aftershocks: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu. The author will join us for our discussion on April 25th.
How to participate: Get a copy of the book, read it in advance of the meeting, and then discuss the book with a group of people interested in reading African literature online via zoom on April 25th at 5:00 PM (PST). After you register you will receive information to join via zoom. If you don’t see an email from MoAD, check your spam or junk mail box.
Aftershocks: A Memoir is available for purchase online at the MoAD bookstore.
You can view a list of all the books previously read and discussed in African Book Club, and if you order through bookshop, MoAD will receive a percentage of the sale: https://bookshop.org/lists/african-book-club
Hosted by Faith Adiele, Author, Professor & Co-Founder of African Book Club
About the Book
In the tradition of The Glass Castle, a deeply felt memoir from Whiting Award–winner Nadia Owusu about the push and pull of belonging, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, and the heart it takes to pull through.
“In Aftershocks, Nadia Owusu tells the incredible story of her young life. How does a girl—abandoned by her mother at age two and orphaned at thirteen when her beloved father dies—find her place in the world? This memoir is the story of Nadia creating her own solid ground across countries and continents. I know the struggle of rebuilding your life in an unfamiliar place. While some of you might be familiar with that and some might not, I hope you’ll take as much inspiration and hope from her story as I did.” —MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Young Nadia Owusu followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would tell them it was time to say their goodbyes. The instability wrought by Nadia’s nomadic childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures, both lived and inherited. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear, only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, the great hero of her life, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia’s stepmother weighed her down with a revelation that was either a bombshell secret or a lie, rife with shaming innuendo.
With these and other ruptures, Nadia arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. What followed, however, were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together.
Aftershocks is the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life’s perpetual quaking, the means by which she has finally come to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one written into existence by her own hand.
About the Author
Nadia Owusu is a Ghanaian and Armenian-American 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, topped many most-anticipated lists, including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and TIME.
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 New York Times Magazine, Granta, The Literary Review, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Electric Literature, Catapult, Bon Appétit, Epiphany and others.
By day, Nadia is the Director of Storytelling at Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm that helps social-change organizations to define goals, execute plans, and evaluate impact. She is a graduate of Pace University (BA) and Hunter College (MS). She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction at the Mountainview low-residency program where she now teaches. She lives in Brooklyn.
Praise for Aftershocks: A Memoir
“A gorgeous and unsettling memoir.”-New York Times
“Aftershocks” offers an incredible account of a life both privileged and fraught, and a rigorous accounting of living as heir and stranger to so many histories, voices and identities.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Earthquakes are a metaphor for psychological struggles, family ruptures, and centuries of diasporic and colonial history in this ambitious memoir.”-The New Yorker