HENRY KING STANFORD DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR 
IN THE HUMANITIES

Chris Abani


"[Graceland is]...one of the most astonishing metropolitan novels of our time" — The New York Times Book Review

Abani’s best-selling novel, Graceland, about an Elvis impersonator in Lagos, won the Hemingway/PEN Prize.  His other works of fiction include The Virgin of FlamesBecoming Abigail and the award-winning Song For Night, about a child soldier who has lost his voice. Each was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Imprisoned by the Nigerian government as a teenager for his first novel, Abani was tortured and placed on death row for subsequent work critical of the government. He is the recipient of the PEN Freedom-to-Write Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship and many other prizes. Abani is also the author of five poetry collections and a saxophonist.

He holds a BA in English (Nigeria), an MA in Gender and Culture (Birkbeck College, University of London), an MA in English and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing (University of Southern California). He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.

"Abani ranks among our most incendiary and emotionally devastating and important writers" — Miami Herald

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