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Akwaeke Edit Biography | Gender | Parents

Can be fixed (born 6 June 1987) is a Nigerian fiction writer and videographer, best known for her novels Fresh water, Animalsand the New York Times bestselling novel The death of Vivek Oji. Emezi is considered a generalist who writes speculative fiction, romance, memoir, and poetry for young adults and adults, primarily with LGBT themes. His work has earned them several awards and nominations, including the Otherwise reward and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In 2021, Time present it as a Next Generation Leader.

Akwaeke Edit Biography

Full name :

Can be fixed

Date of Birth :

June 6, 1987

Nationality :


Place of birth :

Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria

State of origin:

Abia State, Nigeria


Fantastic, Romance

Active years :


Notable works:

Fresh water
The death of Vivek Oji
Dear Senthuran: A Memoir of the Black Spirit

Social media handles:

Instagram: azemezi
Twitter: @azemezi

Youth and education

Akwaeke Emezi was born on June 6, 1987 in Umuahia, Abia State, to a Nigerian Igbo father and a mother who was the daughter of a Sri Lankan immigrant who lived in Malaysia. She and her sister Pour over it, used storytelling to escape the riots, authoritarianism, and perilous reality of their childhood, Emezi began reading fantasy novels, showing that as a child Emezi was a “voracious” reader, and at age five, they started writing short stories.

She had her primary education and part of her secondary education in Abia State before moving to Appalachia, USA, at the age of 16 to attend college. She went to vet school after graduating from college, but left before she got her MPA from New York University. Emezi briefly launched a natural hair blog and a short-lived anonymous sex blog, neither of which garnered much attention for her. She signed up for Syracuse University MFA creative writing program in 2014, where she began composing the first draft of her debut novel, Fresh water. Later, they traveled to Lagos, Nigeria for a Nigerian writing workshop.


Freshwater, Emezi’s first book, is a semi-autobiographical account of protagonist Ada, a Ogbanje (an evil Igbo spirit). Emezi challenged his audience to consider this mind/body binary critically as they examined the gender and spirituality of their Igbo origin alongside that of Western invention. Freshwater received rave reviews and nominations for many top awards. Emezi was also honored as one of “5 Under 35» in 2018 by the National Book Foundation.

For the first time ever, a book by a non-binary transgender author, Freshwater, has been shortlisted for the Female Fiction Award in 2019. When the panel chose the book, Emezi was unaware that she wasn’t binary, according to Women’s Awards judge Professor Kate Williamswho also said that Emezi was delighted to be nominated.

Vic Parson, a non-binary reviewer, noted that the nomination presented troubling issues, asking the following: “Would a non-binary writer who was given the gender of male at birth have made the long list ?” I hardly think so. “Following the nomination, it was revealed that the Women’s Prize Trust was developing new standards for authors who identify as transgender, non-binary, or genderfluid. When The death of Vivek Oji was then submitted for inclusion, The Women’s Awards asked Emezi’s “sex as defined by law”, and Emezi decided to withdraw, considering transphobic criteria and in particular discriminatory towards trans women.

AnimalsEmezi’s second book and first for young adults, was released on September 10, 2019. It tells the story of Jama transgender teenager who lives in a society where adults deny the existence of monsters, and a prequel, Bitterwas released in February 2022.

Emezi and Riverhead Books have agreed to a two-book deal. The first one, The death of Vivek Ojiwas released on August 4, 2020, and it quickly became a New York Times Bestseller. The second work is a black spirit memoir titled Dear Senthuran. Everything: Emezi’s First Collection of Poems was released in April 2022.

Deadline Hollywood reported in April 2021 that Amazon Studios had secured the rights to shoot their first romance novel, You made a fool out of death with Your beauty, in feature film. According to Deadline, the purchase price was in the upper six figures, making it the biggest book deal so far this year. Elizabeth Fox and Michael B. Jordan Outlier Society will work on its development. The executive producer will be Emezi.

Together with Tamara P. CarterEmezi will write and produce the television version of their book, Fresh waterfor FX Productionsdirected by Kevin Wandell and Lindsey Donahuewill produce it.

Private life

There is however no information available about her relationship life but she has two siblings named OK (brother), Founder of Contrarian Group of Companies, and Then Modify (sister), a video editor.

Surgery and sexuality

Emezi identifies as non-binary transgender. They/them/theirs are the pronouns she uses. They identify as Ogbanje and experience multiplicity. When they were 16 and had only been in America for a week, they went through their first personality split. They blogged about their gender confirmation surgery experience.

The Nigerian-Tamil writer once shared a photo of herself topless to show off her breasts after undergoing breast removal surgery. The author revealed that she underwent her second surgery 6 months after undergoing her first. She shared photos of her mastectomy scars on her sixth month birthday. She wrote:

“a great god in the swamp today is the sixth anniversary of my second non-human chest surgery, thank you to all of my lovers who have held me so carefully throughout this year, my community is phenomenal .”



  • (2018). Fresh water.
  • (2020). The Death of Vivek Oji.
  • (2022). You have made a fool of death with your beauty.

Novels for young adults

  • (2019). Animals.
  • (2022). Bitter.


  • (2021). Dear Senthuran: A Memoir of the Black Spirit.


  • (2022). Content warning: All.

Awards and nominations

Year Price Category Remarks
2017 Astraea Lesbian Justice Foundation Global Arts Fund Grant Won
Commonwealth Short Story Prize Africa
2019 Nommo Award Fresh water
Otherwise reward
2020 We need miscellaneous books Walter Honor Books, Teen Category
2021 Nommo Award The death of Vivek Oji
2018 Fiction Center First Novel Award Novel First Prize Appointed
2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize
PEN/Hemingway Award Female Fiction Award
Carnegie Medal of Excellence Carnegie Medals – Grants
The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize
Young Lions Fiction Award Finalist
National Children’s Literature Book Award
Female Fiction Award
Dylan Thomas Award
Walter Dean Myers Award Honors

Net value

His estimated net worth is not available.

Social media handles

Instagram: azemezi
Twitter: @azemezi

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