Chris Abani Bibliography Mla

Articles & Essays

  • Adéèkó, Adélékè, 'Power Shift: America in the New Nigerian Imagination', Global South 2.2 (Fall 2008), pp. 10-30. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Afolayan, Bosede F., 'Mutations of Slavery: Prostitution and Women Trafficking in Contemporary Nigerian Novels', in Global Africans: Race, Ethnicity and Shifting Identities, ed. Toyin Falola & Cacee Hoyer (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), pp. 185-201. Includes a discussion of Becoming Abigail.
  • Aycock, Amanda, 'Becoming Black and Elvis: Transnational and Performative Identity in the Novels of Chris Abani', Safundi 10.1 (January 2009), pp. 11-25. On GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames.
  • Andrade, Susan Z. 'Representing Slums and Home: Chris Abani's GraceLand', in The Legacies of Modernism: Historicising Postwar and Contemporary Fiction, ed. David James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 225-242.
  • Asika, Ikechukwu Emmanuel & Jane Nkechi Ifechelobi, 'The Writer as a Psychiatrist: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail', Research on Humanities and Social Sciences 5.5 (2015), pp. 199-208. [ available online ]
  • Barberán, Reinares, Laura, 'Amma Darko's Beyond the Horizon, and Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail and the Law', in her Sex Trafficking in Post Colonial Literature (New York & Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), pp. 90-119.
  • Coundouriotis, Eleni, 'The Child Soldier Narrative and the Problem of Arrested Historicization', Journal of Human Rights 9.2 (2010), pp. 191-206. Briefly deals with Song for Night (pp. 194-195).
  • D'Agostini, Giulia, 'Children in Conflict: Agency and Responsibility in Uzodinma Iweala's and Chris Abani's War Novellas', in A Garland of True Plain Words, ed. by Annalisa Oboe & Anna Scacchi (Padova: Unipress, 2012), pp. 399-416.
  • Dalley, Hamish, 'Trauma Theory and Nigerian Civil War Literature: Speaking "something that was never in words" in Chris Abani's Song for Night', Journal of Postcolonial Writing 49.4 (2013), pp. 445-457. A revised version as appears as 'Spectres of Civil War Trauma: Chris Abani's Song for Night', in his The Postcolonial Historical Novel: Realism, Allegory, and the Representation of Contested Pasts (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 149-170.
  • Dannenberg, Hilary, 'Narrating the Postcolonial Metropolis in Anglophone African Fiction: Chris Abani's GraceLand and Phaswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow', Journal of Postcolonial Writing 48.1 (February 2012), pp. 39–50.
  • Dawson, Ashley, 'Surplus City: Structural Adjustment, Self-Fashioning, and Urban Insurrection in Chris Abani's Graceland', Interventions 11.1 (March 2009), pp. 16-34. [ available online ]
  • Dawson, Ashley, 'Cargo Culture: Literature in an Age of Mass Displacement', WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 38.1&2 (Spring-Summer 2010), pp. 178-193. Includes a discussion of Becoming Abigail. [ available online ]
  • Deandrea, Pietro, 'Unravelling Unpersons: Inscribing the Voice of Contemporary Slavery in the UK', Textus: English Studies in Italy 22.3 (2009), pp. 665-680. Includes a discussion of Becoming Abigail.
  • Dike, Virginia W., 'Growing Up on the Hard Side: Male Adolescent Experience in Contemporary Nigeria', Sankofa: A Journal of African Children's and Young Adult Literature 7 (2008), pp. 23-31. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Duboin, Corinne, 'New Transatlantic Passages: African Immigrant Writers and Contemporary Black Literature in America', in Diasporas, Cultures of Mobilities, 'Race', ed. by Judith Misrahi-Barak & Claudine Raynaud (Montpellier: PULM, 2014), pp. 174-195. Includes a discussion of The Virgin of Flames (pp. 186-190).
  • Durrant, Sam, 'Life after Necropolitics: Spirit-Writing, Creaturely Mimesis and Auto-Ancestralisation in Chris Abani's Song for Night', Research in African Literatures 48.3 (forthcoming in 2017).
  • Egya, Sule E., 'Historicity, Power, Dissidence: The Third-generation Poetry and Military Oppression in Nigeria', African Affairs 111.444 (July 2012), pp. 424-441.
  • Etter-Lewis, Gwendolyn, 'Dark Bodies/White Masks: African Masculinities and Visual Culture in Graceland, The Joys of Motherhood and Things Fall Apart', in Masculinities in African Literary and Cultural Texts, ed. Helen Nabasuta Mugambi & Tuzyline Jita Allan (Banbury: Ayebia Clarke, 2010), pp. 160-177.
  • Eze, Chielozona, 'Cosmopolitan Solidarity: Negotiating Transculturality in Contemporary Nigerian Novels', English in Africa 32.1 (May 2005), pp. 99-112. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Fehskens, Erin M., 'Elvis Has Left the Country: Marronage in Chris Abani's GraceLand', College Literature 42.1 (Winter 2015), pp. 90-111.
  • Gehrmann, Susanne, 'The Child Soldier's Soliloquy: Voices of a New Archetype in African Writing', Études littéraires africaines 32 (2011), pp. 31-43. Includes a discussion of Song for Night (pp. 40-42).
  • Giommi, Francesca, 'Negotiating Freedom on Scarred Bodies: Chris Abani's Novellas', in Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures, ed. Annalisa Oboe & Shaul Bassi (Abingdon & New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 176-184. On Becoming Abigail and Song for Night.
  • Goyal, Yogita, 'We Need New Diasporas', American Literary History (forthcoming in 2017). Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Green-Simms, Lindsey, 'The Emergent Queer: Homosexuality and Nigerian Fiction in the 21st Century', Research in African Literatures 47.2 (Summer 2016), pp. 139-161. Partly deals with Graceland.
  • Gualtieri, Claudia, 'Agire nel mondo: Chris Abani, scrittore tra tradizione e cosmopolitismo, Mondi migranti: Rivista di studi e ricerche sulle migrazioni internazionali 1 (2012), pp. 137-149. In Italian.
  • Hall, Susan L., 'The Uncanny Sacrifice: Sex Trafficking in Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail', Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 56.1 (2015), pp. 42-60.
  • Highfield, Jonathan Bishop, 'Dodo or Bacon-Fat-Fried Peanut-Butter-and-Banana Sandwich: Hunger in GraceLand', in his Food and Foodways in African Narratives: Community, Culture, and Heritage (New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 141-151.
  • Gunning, Dave, 'A Duty to Stay Alive: Chris Abani's "Buffalo Women"', in his Postcolonial Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), pp. 147-150.
  • Hanif, Samia, Vision of the Post Colonial World in New Nigerian Fiction: A Literary Analysis of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, Helon Habila and Chris Abani's Selected Works (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2012), passim. Print-on-demand publisher.
  • Harrison, Sarah K., '"Suspended City": Personal, Urban, and National Development in Chris Abani's Graceland', Research in African Literatures 43.2 (Summer 2012), pp. 95-114.
  • Harrow, Kenneth, 'Sur l'impossibilité de représenter l'enfant-soldat dans Song for Night de Chris Abani', Études littéraires africaines 32 (2011), pp. 78-90. In French.
  • Harrow, Kenneth W., 'The Amalek Factor: Child Soldiers and the Impossibility of Representation', Postcolonial Text 8.2 (2013), pp. 1-20. A revised and expanded version of his essay 'Sur l'impossibilité de représenter l'enfant-soldat dans Song for Night de Chris Abani'.
  • Hartwiger, Alexander Greer, 'Strangers in/to the World: The Unhomely in Chris Abani's GraceLand', Matatu 45, issue on 'Tradition and Change in Contemporary West and East African Fiction', ed. by Ogaga Okuyade (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2014), pp. 233-250.
  • Hendrick, Veronica C., 'Negotiating Nigeria: Connecting Chris Abani's GraceLand to Africa's Past', in Emerging African Voices: A Study of Contemporary African Literature, ed. Walter P. Collins (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2010), pp. 75-99.
  • Hodges, Hugh, 'No, This is Not Redemption: The Biafra War Legacy in Chris Abani's Graceland', in Writing the Nigeria-Biafra War, ed. Toyin Falola & Ogechukwu Ezekwem (Martlesham: James Currey, 2016).
  • Kattanek, Sita Maria, 'The Nigerian Coming-of-Age Novel as a Globalization Device: A Reading of Chris Abani's GraceLand', Rupkatha: Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities 3.3 (2011), pp. 426-433. [ available online ]
  • Kearney, J.A., 'The Representation of Child Soldiers in Contemporary African Fiction', Journal of Literary Studies 26.1 (March 2010), pp. 67-94. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'Biafra and the Aesthetics of Closure in the Third Generation Nigerian Novel', Rupkatha: Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities 2.2 (2010), pp. 185-195. Includes a discussion of GraceLand. [ available online ]
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'Beyond Tradition and Progress: Re-imagining Nigeria in Chris Abani's GraceLand', Anglistica 15.1 (2011), pp. 97-106. [ available online ]
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'Mami Wata and the Occluded Feminine in Anglophone Nigerian-Igbo Literature', Research in African Literatures 43.1 (Spring 2012), pp. 1-18. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'Of Masquerades and Mimicry: Performance, Identity, and Tradition in Chris Abani's The Virgin of Flames', Ariel 43.2 (2012), pp. 45-68.
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'On National Culture and the Projective Past: Mythology, Nationalism, and the Heritage of Biafra in Contemporary Nigerian Narrative', Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 42.2 (Spring 2013), pp. 187-208. On Chris Abani's GraceLand and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun.
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'The Storyteller Function in Contemporary Nigerian Narrative', Journal of Commonwealth Literature 49.1 (March 2014), pp. 29-45. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Lambert, Iain, 'Chris Abani's Graceland and Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation: Nonstandard English, Intertextuality and Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy', Language and Literature 20.4 (November 2011), pp. 283-294.
  • Luburić-Cvijanović, Arijana, 'Innocence and Experience: Echoes of William Blake and Ágota Kristóf in Chris Abani's Song for Night', in English Language and Anglophone Literatures Today: Proceedings, ed. Ljiljana Subotić (Novi Sad: Filozofski fakultet u Novom Sadu, 2011), pp. 480-489. [ available online ]
  • Mackey, Alison, 'Troubling Humanitarian Consumption: Reframing Relationality in African Child Soldier Narratives', Research in African Literatures 44.4 (Winter 2013), pp. 99-122. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Mason, Lauren, 'Leaving Lagos: Intertextuality and Images in Chris Abani's GraceLand', Research in African Literatures 45.3 (Fall 2014), pp. 206-226.
  • Mastey, David, 'The Relative Innocence of Child Soldiers', Journal of Commonwealth Literature (forthcoming). Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • McCallum, Pamela, 'Between Life and Death: Representing Trafficked Persons in Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail and Justin Chadwick's Stolen', Mosaic 48.2 (June 2015), pp. 29-44.
  • Moynagh, Maureen, 'Human Rights, Child-Soldier Narratives, and the Problem of Form', Research in African Literatures 42.4 (Winter 2011), pp. 39-59. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Moynagh, Maureen, 'The War Machine as Chronotope: Temporality in Child-Soldier Fiction', Comparative Literature 69.3 (2017), pp. 315-337.
  • Munro, Brenna, 'Locating "Queer" in Contemporary Writing of Love and War in Nigeria', Research in African Literatures 47.2 (Summer 2016), pp. 121-138. Partly deals with Song for Night.
  • Munro, Ian, 'Mapping the Postcolonial Metropolis: Three Recent Novels from Nigeria', in Representing Minorities: Studies in Literature and Criticism, ed. Larbi Touaf & Soumia Boutkhil (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), pp. 38-54. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Novak, Amy, 'Who Speaks? Who Listens? The Problem of Address in Two Nigerian Trauma Novels', Studies in the Novel 40.1&2, issue on 'Postcolonial Trauma Novels' (Spring-Summer 2008), pp. 31-51. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Nnodim, Rita, 'City, Identity and Dystopia: Writing Lagos in Contemporary Nigerian Novels', Journal of Postcolonial Writing 44.4 (December 2008), pp. 321-332. Includes a discussion of GraceLand. Also published in African City Textualities, ed. by Ranka Primorac (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010).
  • Nwakanma, Obi, 'O, Polyphemus: On Poetry and Alienation', Ariel 39.4 (2008), pp. 139-146. Partly deals with The Virgin of Flames (pp. 141-143). [ available online ]
  • Oboe, Annalisa, ""As there are hyena-men and panthermen…": Chris Abani, Pieter Hugo, and the Shocking Life of Images', Journal of Postcolonial Writing 51.1 (2015), pp. 95-107.
  • Ojaruega, Enajite E., 'Outgoing and Incoming Africans: Migration and Reverse Migration in Contemporary African Narratives', Matatu 45, issue on 'Tradition and Change in Contemporary West and East African Fiction', ed. by Ogaga Okuyade (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2014), pp. 21-34. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Okpala, Jude Chudi, 'Postcolonial Aesthetics and Black British Aesthetics', in 'Black' British Aesthetics Today, ed. R. Victoria Arana (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007; 2nd ed. 2009), pp. 50-63. Includes a discussion of Kalakuta Republic and GraceLand.
  • Okolo, Ifeyinwa Genevieve, 'The Child Without Sexuality Education: A Reading of Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail', UNIUYO Journal of Humanities 19.1 (2015), pp. 143-162. [ available online ]
  • Omelsky, Matthew, 'Chris Abani and the Politics of Ambivalence', Research in African Literatures 42.4 (Winter 2011), pp. 84-96. On GraceLand.
  • Ouma, Christopher Ernest Werimo, '"In the name of the Son": Fatherhood's Critical Legitimacy, Sonhood and Masculinities in Chris Abani's Graceland and The Virgin of Flames', English in Africa 38.2 (2011), pp. 77-94.
  • Ouma, Christopher E.W., 'Navigating the Lagos cityscape in Chris Abani's Graceland', Kunapipi 34.1 (2012), pp. 141-154. [ available online ]
  • Ouma, Christopher, 'Late Achebe. Biafra as Literary Genealogy', Chinua Achebe's Legacy: Illuminations from Africa, ed. James Ogude (Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa, 2015), pp. 50-60.
  • Ouma, Christopher, 'Popular Cultural Memory in Chris Abani's Graceland', Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies 2.3&4 (2015), pp. 101-110.
  • Patterson-Stein, Jacob, 'De-Nationalizing American Music in the "Third Space" of Graceland', eSharp 13, issue on 'Atlantic Exchanges' (Spring 2009), pp. 48-68. [ available online ]
  • Phillips, Delores B., '"What do I have to do with all this?" Eating, Excreting, and Belonging in Chris Abani's GraceLand', Postcolonial Studies 15.1 (2012), pp. 105-125.
  • Salgado, Minoli, 'Vanishing Points/Visible Fictions: The Textual Politics of Terror', Textual Practice 27.2 (2013), pp. 207-223. Partle deals with Song for Night.
  • Sandten, Cecile, '"Metroglorification and diffuse urbanism': Literarische Repräsentationen des Postkolonialen im Palimpsestraum der "neuen" Metropolen', Anglia 130.3 (2012), pp. 344-363. Includes a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Savonic, Danica, '"The Problem of Locomotion": Infrastructure and Automobility in Three Postcolonial Urban Nigerian Novels', Modern Fiction Studies 61.4 (Winter 2015), pp. 669-689. Partly deals with GraceLand. [ target=_blank>available online ]
  • Schultheis, Alexandra, 'African Child Soldiers and Humanitarian Consumption', Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 20 (2008), pp. 31-40. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Schultheis, Alexandra W., 'Global Specters: Child Soldiers in the Post-National Fiction of Uzodinma Iweala and Chris Abani', in Emerging African Voices: A Study of Contemporary African Literature, ed. Walter P. Collins (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2010), pp. 13-51. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Schultheis Moore, Alexandra, 'Spectrally Human: African Child Soldier Narratives at the Limits of Legal Personhood', in her Vulnerability and Security in Human Rights Literature and Visual Culture (New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 30-68. Includes a discussion of Song for Night.
  • Schultheis Moore, Alexandra & Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, '"Let Us Begin with a Smaller Gesture': An Ethos of Human Rights and the Possibilities of Form in Chris Abani's Song for Night and Becoming Abigail, Ariel 45.4 (October 2014), pp. 59-87.
  • Schwetman, John D., 'Leaving Lagos: Diasporic and Cosmopolitan Migrations in Chris Abani's GraceLand', Pacific Coast Philology 49.2 (2014), pp. 184-202.
  • Sereda, Stefan, 'Riffing on Resistance: Music in Chris Abani's Graceland', Ariel 39.4 (October 2008), pp. 31-47. [ available online ]
  • Simoes da Silva, Tony, 'From Lived Spaces to Literary Spaces: The Figure of the Child Soldier in Contemporary African Literature', African Geographical Review (forthcoming).
  • Slaughter, Joseph R., 'Form and Informality: An Unliterary Look at World Literature', in The Work of Genre: Selected Essays from the English Institute, ed. by Robyn Warhol (Cambridge, MA: English Institute, 2011). Partly discusses GraceLand. [ available online ]
  • Slaughter, Joseph R., 'World Literature as Property', Alif 34 (2014), pp. 1-35. Partly deals with GraceLand. [ available online ]
  • Stobie, Cheryl, 'Indecent Theology, Trans-theology, and the Transgendered Madonna in Chris Abani's The Virgin of Flames', Research in African Literatures 42.2 (Summer 2011), pp. 170-183.
  • Tunca, Daria, '"We die only once, and for such a long time": Approaching Trauma through Translocation in Chris Abani's Song for Night', in Postcolonial Translocations: Cultural Representation and Critical Spatial Thinking, ed. by Marga Munkelt, Markus Schmitz, Mark Stein & Silke Stroh (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2013), pp. 127-143. [ available online ]
  • Tunca, Daria, '"Bi-textual" Poetics: Investigating Form in Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail', in her Stylistic Approaches to Nigerian Fiction (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 122-145.
  • Tunca, Daria, 'Children at War: Language and Representation in Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation and Chris Abani's Song for Night', in her Stylistic Approaches to Nigerian Fiction (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 146-174.
  • Vuletic, Snezana, 'Mask Metaphor and Cultural Change: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Imitation" and "The Arrangers of Marriage", and Chris Abani's The Virgin of Flames (2007)', in Exploring the Periphery: Perspectives from Applied Linguistics, Language Teaching, Literary and Cultural Studies, ed. by Stefanie Quakernack, Till Meister, Diana Fulger, and Nathan Devos (Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag, 2017), pp. 191-207.


Entries in Encyclopedias & Reference Works

  • 'Abani, Chris 1967-', in Contemporary Authors, vol. 241, ed. Julie Mellors (Detroit: Gale, 2006).
  • 'Abani, Chris 1967(?)-', in Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series, vol. 176, ed. Amanda D. Sams (Detroit: Gale, 2009).
  • 'Chris Abani', in Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 347: Twenty-First-Century 'Black' British Writers, ed. R. Victoria Arana (Detroit: Gale, 2009).
  • 'Chris Abani', in Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community, vol. 77 (Detroit: Gale, 2010).
  • Belcher, Wendy, 'Abani, Chris (1966 -   )', in World Poetry: 1900 to the Present, ed. R. Victoria Arana (New York: Facts on File, 2007), pp. 1-2.
  • Belcher, Wendy, 'Daphne's Lot Chris Abani (2003)', in World Poetry: 1900 to the Present, ed. R. Victoria Arana (New York: Facts on File, 2007), p. 123.
  • Belcher, Wendy, 'Dog Woman Chris Abani (2004)', in World Poetry: 1900 to the Present, ed. R. Victoria Arana (New York: Facts on File, 2007), pp. 144-145.
  • Bookman, Ariel, 'Abani, Chris (1966 -   )', in Dictionary of African Biography (vol. 1: Abach-Brand), ed. Emmanuel K. Akyeampong & Henry Louis Gates Jr (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 3-4.
  • Enisuoh, Raymond, 'Abani, Chris', in Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture, ed. Alison Donnell (London & New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 2-3.
  • Okpala, Jude Chudi, 'Chris Abani', in Twenty-First-Century 'Black' British Writers, ed. by R. Victoria Arana (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2009), pp. 3-12.
  • Owomoyela, Oyekan, 'Abani, Christopher (1966 -   ), in his The Columbia Guide to West African Literature in English Since 1945 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), pp. 51-52.
  • Tunca, Daria, 'Christopher Abani', Literary Encyclopedia (2010).



  • Barberan Reinares, Maria Laura, 'Commodified Anatomies: Disposable Women in Postcolonial Narratives of Sexual Trafficking/Abduction', PhD thesis, Georgia State University, USA, 2012, 221 pp. Includes a chapter on Becoming Abigail (pp. 133-146).
  • Chasen, Laura Elizabeth, 'Dislocated Subjects: Transnational Forced Prostitution, African Female Bodies and Corporeal Resistance', MA thesis, Georgetown University, USA, 2010, 58 pp. Contains a chapter on Becoming Abigail (pp. 26-47).
  • Chingwere, Kudzai, 'Monsters or Victims: An Analysis of the African Child Soldier as Depicted in Chris Abani's Song for Night, Emmanuel Dongala's Johnny Mad Dog and Ieweala Uzodinma's [sic] Beasts of No Nation', BA thesis, Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe, 51 pp.
  • Corson, Elizabeth R.,'Cooking Is Always a Good Time for Healing: The Roles of Food and Motherhood in Christina Garcia's Dreaming in Cuban and Chris Abani's GraceLand', MA thesis, East Carolina University, USA, 2006.
  • Crowley, Dustin James, 'The Geography of Narrative: Representations of Place in African Literature', PhD thesis, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA, 2013, 169 pp. Contains a chapter entitled 'Half Slum, Half Paradise: Abani's Global Cities', on GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames (pp. 127-160).
  • Denison, Sheri, 'Walking through the Shadows: Ruins, Reflections, and Resistance in the Postcolonial Gothic Novel', PhD thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA, 2009, 415 pp. Contains a section on The Virgin of Flames (pp. 328-338).
  • Dunn, Joshua, 'Cross Roads of the Living and the Dead: Necropolitics and Market Logic in Chris Abani's Graceland', MA thesis, University of South Carolina, USA, 2017, 45 pp.
  • Hartwiger, Alexander, 'Cosmopolitan Pedagogy: Reading Postcolonial Literature in an Age of Globalization', PhD thesis, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA, 2010, 216 pp. Contains a section on GraceLand (pp. 189-205), and discusses Becoming Abigail and Song for Night, passim.
  • Hawkins, Benjamin, 'Exploring Realism and Magical Realism in Slum Novels of the Global South', Honors thesis, Portland State University, USA, 35 pp. Partly deals with GraceLand.
  • Hill, Elyan Jeanine, 'Bodyscripts: Mami Wata, Diaspora, and Circum-Atlantic Performance', MA thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, 2013, 98 pp. Includes a chapter on Abani's GraceLand (pp. 64-85).
  • Krishnan, Madhu, 'Constructions of Self and Community in the Contemporary Nigerian-Biafran War Novel', PhD thesis, University of Nottingham, UK, 2012. Partly deals with Chris Abani's GraceLand.
  • Kuroki, Mikage, 'L.A. Stories: Identity and Conflict in Posturban Culture', PhD thesis, University of California, Riverside, USA, 2011, 270 pp. Contains a discussion of The Virgin of Flames.
  • Lanting, Mark, 'Literatures of Suffering, Imprisonment, and Death: Finding Balance in Deconstruction through Observing Joseph Conrad and Christopher Abani's Postcolonial Aesthetic and Critique', MA thesis, Governors State University, USA, 2005, 138 pp.
  • Mackey, Allison E., 'Apparitions of Planetary Consciousness in Contemporary Coming-of-Age Narratives: Reimagining Knowledge, Responsibility and Belonging', PhD thesis, McMaster University, Canada, 2011, 285 pp. Includes a short discussion of Song for Night (pp. 228-232).
  • Malcom, Carolyn Patricia, 'Settlement Fctions: Global South Literature and the Postcolonial Urban Imaginary', PhD thesis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ, USA, 2012, 158 pp. Includes a chapter that partly deals with Abani's GraceLand.
  • Mason, Lauren Camille, 'Postcards from the Edge-city: Mass-media and Photographic Images in Contemporary Novels of the Black Diaspora', PhD thesis, Michigan State University, 2011, 165 pp. Contains a discussion of GraceLand.
  • Murphy, Michelle, 'Trauma and Identity within Chris Abani's Virgin of Flames and Becoming Abigail', Honours thesis, University of Wollongong, Australia, 2011, 34 pp.
  • Ohwovoriole, Benjamin Cyril Oghenekaro, 'Structure and Characterisation as Metaphors for Neurological Disorder in Chris Abani's GraceLand', MA thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2009, 104 pp.
  • Ouma, Christopher Ernest Werimo, 'Childhood in Contemporary Nigerian Fiction', PhD thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2011, 340 pp, passim. Contains various sections on GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames.
  • Phillips, Delores B., 'In Questionable Taste: Eating Culture, Cooking Culture in Anglophone Postcolonial Texts', PhD dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, USA, 2009, 317 pp. Contains a chapter entitled 'The Excesses of this World: The Cookbook Form's Unwillingness to Report The News', which partly deals with GraceLand (pp. 108-137).
  • Smit, Willem Jacobus, 'Becoming the Third Generation: Negotiating Modern Selves in Nigerian Bildungsromane of the 21st Century', MA thesis, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, 2009, 128 pp. Contains a chapter on GraceLand (pp. 87-116).
  • Smith, Brady, 'Red, Black and Green: Ecology, Economy and the Contemporary African Novel', PhD thesis, University of Chicago, USA, 2015, 217 pp. Includes a chapter on Chris Abani's GraceLand (pp. 157-195).


Study Guides

  • 'Study questions for GraceLand', Just Buffalo (Babel 2010-2011 booklet), pp. 6-7.
  • 'GraceLand, by Chris Abani', in Novels for Students, vol. 35: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Novels, ed. Sara Constantakis (Detroit: Gale, 2011).



  • Kargbo, Kolasa, Vanguard, 5 December 1985, p. 7. Story covering Abani's winning of the 1983 Delta Fiction Award.
  • Kargbo, Kolasa, Vanguard, 15 December 1985, p. 3. Story covering the launch of Masters of the Board.
  • Obi, Comfort, Nigerian Statesman Newspaper, 8 March 1986, p. 7. Article based on an interview recorded in December 1985.
  • Pinter, Harold, 'Chris Abani', Prince Claus Awards 5 (2001), pp. 48-51.
  • O'Brien, Pat, 'The write way out: Former political prisoner honored for his novel', Press-Enterprise, 26 May 2005, p. D1.
  • Datcher, Michael, 'West Coast Kinfolk', Black Issues Book Review 7.3 (May-June 2005), pp. 34-35. On Chris Abani and Kamau Daáood.
  • Taggart, Phil, 'Nigerian Elvis comes to Oxnard', Ventoura County Reporter, 29 June 2006.
  • Henderson, Monique H. & Joyce Tse, 'Prize-winning UCR author, poet makes things personal', Press-Enterprise, 3 July 2006, p. B1.
  • Timberg, Scott, 'Chris Abani is living the "perfect metaphor"', Los Angeles Times, 18 February 2007. Also published as 'Dreams consume the city: Author seeks "uneasy grace" in portrait of life in Los Angeles', Calgary Herald, 4 March 2007, p. C5.
  • Akubuiro, Henry, 'Chimamanda opened the door of success for me in US', Daily Sun (Nigeria), 6 May 2007.
  • Sibree, Bron, 'Triumph over treason', Canberra Times, 23 August 2008, p. B9. Also published as 'Shaped by suffering', South China Morning Post, 19 October 2008, p. 5. An expanded version was also published as 'A poetic homage to redemption', Courier Mail, 30 August 2008, p. 24.
  • Rabalais, Kevin, 'The clarity of distance', Australian, 30 August 2008, p. 8.
  • Pohl, R.D., 'Chris Abani: "Terror is a state of complete understanding..."', Buffalo News, 23 April 2009.
  • 'Chris Abani', Index on Censorship 39.4, issue entitled 'Beyond Bars: 50 Years of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee' (December 2010), p. 164.
  • 'Chris Abani', Just Buffalo (Babel 2010-2011 booklet), pp. 2-3.
  • Endolyn, Osayi, 'Transcending Worldview with Chris Abani, Connector, 6 March 2011.
  • Fulton, Ben, 'Nigerian author: Art makes the difficult easier', Salt Lake Tribune, 5 May 2011.
  • Adebisi, Yemi, 'Things Fall Apart, My First Love - Abani', Daily Independent, 16 July 2011.
  • Mateos-Vega, Mónica, 'La violencia no debe Ilevarnos a olvidar que existe la esperanza: Chris Abani', La Jornada (Mexico), 15 November 2011, p. 27.
  • Lan, Lin, 'Acclaimed writer reads work at Writer’s House', Daily Targum, 24 September 2014.
  • Adegun, Aanu, 'Chris Abani: Portrait of Radical Poet, Novelist', Newswatch Times, 17 January 2015.
  • Udeze, Edozie, 'I began to write at ten – Chris Abani', Nation, 13 December 2015.
  • Wabuke, Hope, 'Chris Abani: "The middle-class view of Africa is a problem", Guardian, 27 July 2016.





  • Esquire (March 2004), p. 54.
  • Kirkus Reviews 71.21 (1 November 2003), p. 1281.
  • Los Angeles Magazine 49.4 (April 2004), p. 117. Very short review.
  • New York Times, 24 February 2004, p. 22; also published in New York Times, 7 March 2004, p. 18; New York Times, 14 March 2004, p. 22; New York Times, 6 June 2004, p. 26. Very short review.
  • Publishers Weekly 250.46 (17 November 2003), p. 39. Short review.
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 7 March 2004, p. M2; also published in San Francisco Chronicle, 14 March 2004, p. M2; San Francisco Chronicle, 12 December 2004, p. E2. Very short review.
  • Washington Post, 24 April 2005, p. T11. Very short review.
  • Athitakis, Mark, 'GraceLand shimmers with outrage, redemption', Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7 February 2004.
  • Balistreri, Alex, 'Graceland a graceful read', Daily Cardinal (University of Madison-Wisconsin), 30 March 2004.
  • Bukiet, Melvin Jules, 'Coming of age amid the horror of Nigeria's urban decay', Boston Globe, 11 April 2004, p. D7.
  • Chihara, Michelle, Mother Jones 29.2 (March-April 2004), p. 86.
  • Cryer, Dan, 'All Shook Up in a Culture Gone Crazy', Newsday, 4 February 2004. Also published as 'Coming of age in a troubled country', Chicago Tribune, 29 February 2004.
  • Eriksson, Magnus, 'Afrikanska rockdrömmar', SvD, 19 January 2010. In Swedish.
  • Freeman, John, 'This Elvis seeks grace in hard land', Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 19 March 2004, p. F1.
  • Griswold, Sheridan, Mmegi, 17 June 2005.
  • Harrison, Sophie, 'Jailhouse Rock', New York Times (Book Review), 22 February 2004, p. 8.
  • Hawley, John C., 'Oke's Odyssey', America 191.3 (2-9 August 2004), pp. 25-27.
  • Helgesson, Stefan, 'Ömsint komik och brutal fasa', Dagens Nyheter, 14 November 2009. In Swedish.
  • Hunt, Katherine, Journal of Asian and African Studies 43.2 (April 2008), pp. 241-243.
  • Kan, Toni, African Literature Today 26, issue on 'War in African Literature Today' (2008), pp. 144-145.
  • Larson, Susan, 'Out of Africa, tales of sorrow and Redemption', Times-Picayune, 15 February 2004, p. 5.
  • Lee, Christopher J., International Journal of African Historical Studies 37.3 (2004), pp. 568-570.
  • Lehmann, Chris, 'A World All Shook Up', Washington Post, 3 February 2004, p. C4.
  • Lingebrandt, Ann, 'Mörkrets smärta', Helsingborgs Dagblad, 14 December 2009. In Swedish.
  • Lloyd McMichael, Barbara, 'A Nigerian Elvis coming of age in the streets of Lagos', Seattle Times, 27 February 2004.
  • Lorentzon, Leif, Karavan 2 (2006). In Swedish.
  • Marchman, Tim, New York Sun, 10 March 2004.
  • Maury, Pierre, 'Lagos, ville de toutes les douleurs', Soir, 8 February 2008. In French.
  • Mengestu, Dinaw, 'At the End of Lonely Street', New Leader 87.1 (January-February 2004), pp. 27-28.
  • Miller, Gregory, 'State of Graceland', San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 February 2004.
  • Moore, Elaine, Africa Policy Journal 1 (Spring 2006), pp. 114-115.
  • Offshore, Asmaa Malik, 'But a hound dog', Toronto Star, 18 April 2004, p. D13.
  • O'Kelley, Patrick, Seattle Weekly, 25 February 2004.
  • Ott, Bill, Booklist 100.6 (15 November 2003), p. 570. Short review.
  • Rispart, Jan, Med andra ord 54 (March 2008). In Swedish.
  • Rubin, Merle, 'Graceland is a study in Nigeria's many contrasts', Los Angeles Times, 5 April 2004.
  • Seaman, Donna, Booklist 102.22 (August 2006), p. 39. Extremely short review.
  • Singer, Ron, 'Culture Clash', American Book Review 25.6 (September-October 2004), pp. 16, 18.
  • Stepanich, Greg, 'Lyrical novel of Nigeria gives a nod to the King', Palm Beach Post, 9 May 2004, p. 9J.
  • St John, Edward B., Library Journal 129.1 (15 January 2004), p. 151. Short review.
  • Taylor, Ihsan, New York Times, 27 February 2005, p. 24. Very short review.
  • Tepper, Anderson, 'Squatter Writes', Village Voice, 10 February 2004.
  • Tunca, Daria, Wasafiri 45 (Summer 2005), pp. 81-83.
  • Wolff, Carlo, 'All shook up', San Francisco Chronicle, 29 February 2004.

Becoming Abigail

  • Africultures (March 2010). In French. Short review.
  • Mosaic 17 (January 2007).
  • Publishers Weekly (9 January 2006), pp. 30-31. Short review.
  • Athitakis, Mark, Chicago Reader, 30 March 2006. Short review.
  • Baldwin, Ruth, Nation 283.1, 3 July 2006, p. 36.
  • Broberg, Oskar, 'Brutalt och inkännande', Alba 4 (2008). In Swedish.
  • Bryant, Janice K., 'Things Fall Apart', Essence 37.1 (May 2006), p. 85.
  • Collins, Justin Adewale, Black Issues Book Review 8.4 (July-August 2006), p. 37. Short review.
  • Davis Konigsberg, Ruth, Believer (April 2006).
  • Ehrenreich, Ben, 'Persistence of Memory', Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2006.
  • Esehagu, Rosemary, 'Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail: The Mind in Pain', American Chronicle, 4 November 2006.
  • Greczek, Kevin, Library Journal 131.2, 1 February 2006, p. 68.
  • Heacox, Daniel, 'The Movement of Time in Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail', Pitkin Review (Spring 2008).
  • Ihara, Nathan, 'Poor, Solitary, Nasty, Brutish and Short', LA Weekly, 30 April 2006.
  • Jackson, A. Naomi, Mosaic Literary Magazine 17 (2006), pp. 33-34.
  • Karbo, Karen, Entertainment Weekly 871, 7 April 2006. Very short review.
  • Ladipo Manyika, Sarah, African Literature Today 27 (2010), p. 161.
  • Lipsyte Sam, 'Motherless London', New York Times (Book Review), 19 March 2006, p. G11.
  • Messinger, Jonathan, Time Out Chicago, 26 February 2005.
  • Rochman, Hazel, Booklist 102.13 (1 March 2006), p. 60. Short review.
  • Von Born, Heidi, 'Att erövra sitt liv', SvD, 17 October 2008. In Swedish.
  • Wardyn, Tim, Ink19 (April 2006).

Song for Night

  • Africultures (March 2011). In French. Short review.
  • Publishers Weekly 254.26 (25 June 2007), p. 29. Short review.
  • Allan, Hawa, 'Coming of Age in Child Soldier Literature', Brooklyn Rail, July-August 2011.
  • Bernard, Louise, 'Silent Warrior', Washington Post, 2 September 2007, p. T4.
  • Byram, Lesley, 'Tragic parable gives voice to lost innocence of a child soldier', Cape Times, 11 December 2009, p. E1.
  • Casey, Maud, 'Broken Boy Soldier', New York Times, 16 September 2007, p. 14.
  • Pettersson, Jan-Erik, Karavan 4 (2010). In Swedish.
  • Ervin, Andrew, 'A boy's silent, perillous journey', Miami Herald, 11 November 2007, p. 6M.
  • Flakierski, Gregor, 'Visst finns det afrikansk litteratur', Flamman, 10 November 2010. In Swedish.
  • Gluckstern, Nicole, San Francisco Bay Guardian, 25 September 2007.
  • Hagberg, Stefan, 'En läsning långt ifrån förströelsens', Alba 4 (2010). In Swedish.
  • Josefsson, Erika, 'Abani prövar våra gränser', SvD, 27 September 2010. In Swedish
  • Kako, Annie-Monia, 'L'enfance à jamais perdue', La revue littéraire du monde noir 2 (May, June, July 2012), p. 49. In French.
  • Knox, Malcolm, 'Haunted by the ghosts in a child soldier's life', Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November 2008, p. 26.
  • Krauth, Nigel, ' A hope found in lost words', Australian, 9 August 2008, p. 10.
  • Lee, Youyoung, Entertainment Weekly, 31 August 2007.
  • Marsh, Molly, 'Building bridges', Sojourners Magazine 37.10, 1 November 2008, p. 52. Very short review.
  • Ogunlesi, Tolu, 'War in the Time of Childhood', Wasafiri 61 (Spring 2010), pp. 84-87. Also reviews other child soldier narratives.
  • Pak Poy, Patricia, Eureka Street 18.16 (15 August 2008).
  • Poorter, Lucia, '"Interior monologue" on brutality', Sunday Independent (South Africa), 26 October 2008, p. 17.
  • Reyn, Irina, 'Boyhood lost', Los Angeles Times, 2 September 2007.
  • Rochman, Hazel, Booklist 103.22 (1 August 2007), p. 39. Short review.
  • Saunders, Kate, Times, 11 October 2008, Books p. 13. Very short review.
  • Scholl, Peter, Sigma Tau Delta (Fall 2009), p. 5.
  • Schottenius, Maria, Dagens Nyheter, 13 January 2011.
  • Serafin, Anne, Multicultural Review 17.1 (Spring 2008), p. 45. Short review.
  • Strange, Shane, 'Dark heart of humanity in child soldier's story', Canberra Times, 23 August 2008, p. 12.
  • Torday, Daniel, 'Broken Boy Soldier', Esquire, 3 October 2007.
  • Trilling, Daniel, 'You're never too young to kill', Observer (Review), 7 September 2008, p. 23.
  • Wellington, Darryl Lorenzo, 'A Child Soldier Bears Witness to a Life in Hell', Crisis 114.6 (November-December 2007), p. 39.
  • Wood, Liana, 'Armed struggle', New Statesman 137.4894, 28 April 2008, p. 59. Short review.
  • Zott, Debra, Transnational Literature 1.1 (1 November 2008).

The Virgin of Flames

  • Kirkus Reviews 74.22 (15 November 2006), p. 1139. Short review.
  • New Yorker 82.46 (22 January 2007), p. 85. Very short review.
  • Publishers Weekly 253.44 (6 November 2006), p. 37. Short review.
  • Athitakis, Mark, Washington City Paper, 9 February 2007. Short review.
  • Barrios, Gregg, 'Mistaken Identity', San Antonio Current, 27 February 2007.
  • Cheuse, Alan, 'Chris Abani's new novel of art and obsession', Chicago Tribune, 4 February 2007.
  • Cheuse, Alan, 'In Los Angeles, an Artist and a Stripper's Story ', All Things Considered, NPR, 6 February 2007. Audio & transcript. Also published in World Literature Today 81.4 (1 July 2007), p. 6.
  • DeLuca, Dan, 'Poems, a novel with language most luminous', Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 March 2007. Also reviews Hands Washing Water. Shorter versions (reviewing only The Virgin of Flames) were also published as 'Lyrical beauty in "Flames"', Press-Enterprise, 21 April 2007, and as 'Virgin of Flames blends cultures' in Detroit Free Press, 15 April 2007.
  • DeLuca, Dan, 'Bewildering, mesmerizing "Virgin" in East L.A.', Philadelphia Inquirer, 1 April 2007. Also published in San Jose Mercury News, 1 April 2007.
  • Harmanci, Reyhan, 'Layered L.A. story', San Francisco Chronicle, 22 February 2007, p. G26.
  • Heller Amanda, Boston Globe, 17 January 2007, p. D5. Short review.
  • Lee-Youngren, Tiffany, 'The best things in life are free, but you can give it to the bird...', San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 March 2007, Books p. 7.
  • Lloyd McMichael, Barbara, 'Seeking salvation in L.A.'s heart of darkness', Seattle Times, 2 February 2007. Also reviews Hands Washing Water.
  • Martínez, Rubén, 'Peripheral visions', Los Angeles Times, 28 January 2007.
  • McGillis, Ian, 'Searching for identity in east L.A.', Montreal Gazette, 3 February 2007, p. J3.
  • Nwakanma, Obi, Vanguard, 7 July 2007.
  • Olsson, Karen, 'The Recycled City', New York Times (Book Review), 28 January 2007, p. 8.
  • Pastorek, Whitney, Entertainment Weekly 918-919 (2 February 2007). Very short review.
  • Saidullah, Ahmad, Quarterly Conversation 8 (Summer 2007).
  • Savage, Megan, Indiana Review 29.2 (Winter 2007).
  • Seaman, Donna, Booklist 103.8 (15 December 2006), p. 20. Short review.
  • Smiley, Jane, 'Our lady of east LA', Guardian (Review), 21 April 2007, p. 17.
  • Tierney, Thane, 'Living on the Edge', Bookpage, date unknown.
  • Tripney, Natasha, 'Outsider chic', New Statesman 138.4847 (4 June 2007), p. 59. Short review.
  • Yanique, Tiphanie, 'Faith in the City', American Book Review 29.3 (March-April 2008), p. 29.

The Secret History of Las Vegas

  • Kirkus Reviews 82.1 (1 January 2014), p. 186.
  • Athitakis, Mark, Washington Post, 7 February 2014.
  • Farmer, Laura, 'It’s no secret this mystery is brilliant', Gazette (Iowa), 2 March 2014.
  • Habash, Gabe, Publishers Weekly 260.48 (25 November 2013), p. 35. [online version: 3 January 2014]
  • Krause, M. Scott, 'A Literary Author Gets Criminal in The Secret History of Las Vegas', Vegas Seven, 20 May 2014.
  • Sharpe, Christina, 'Coming to Las Vegas', New Inquiry, 6 June 2014.
  • Theroux, Marcel, 'Unreconciled', New York Times (Sunday Book Review), 26 January 2014, p. BR17. [online version: 24 January 2014]
  • Wald-Hopkins, Christine, Tucson Weekly, 10 July 2014.
  • Weingarten, Marc, 'Lost souls wander Chris Abani's Secret History of Las Vegas, Los Angeles Times, 23 January 2014.
  • Zvirin, Stephanie, Booklist 110.7 (1 December 2013), pp. 29-30.


The Face: Cartography of the Void

  • Hagen, Patricia, Star Tribune, 27 February 2016.
  • Shreve, Porter, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 October 2014.


Kalakuta Republic

  • Boran, Pat, 'Where hope and innocence survive', Sunday Tribune, 21 January 2001.
  • Ojaide, Tanure, World Literature Today 75.2 (Spring 2001), p. 309.
  • Winder, Robert, 'Prison Literature', New Statesman 130.4538, 21 May 2001, p. 52-53.

Daphne's Lot

  • Handal, Nathalie, Sable 7 (Autumn 2005), p. 86.

Hands Washing Water

  • Archibeque, Carlye, poeticdiversity 5.1 (April 2007).
  • DeLuca, Dan, 'Poems, a novel with language most luminous', Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 March 2007. Also reviews The Virgin of Flames.
  • DeLuca, Dan, 'Bewildering, mesmerizing "Virgin" in East L.A.', Philadelphia Inquirer, 1 April 2007. Also published in San Jose Mercury News, 1 April 2007. Also reviews The Virgin of Flames.
  • Huston, Karla, Library Journal 131.19 (15 November 2006), p. 74.
  • Lloyd McMichael, Barbara, 'Seeking salvation in L.A.'s heart of darkness', Seattle Times, 2 February 2007. Also reviews The Virgin of Flames.
  • Peterson, Katie, 'Verse collections offer variety of voices, images', Chicago Tribune, 11 February 2007. Short review.


  • Seaman, Donna, Booklist 106.15 (1 April 2010), p. 18. Short review.
  • Seetch, Beth, 'Poetry of cruelty and love', Philadelphia Inquirer, 28 March 2010, p. H11.
  • White, Ashanti, Library Journal 135.5 (15 March 2010), p. 107.

Feed Me the Sun

  • World Literature Today 85.2 (March-April 2011), p. 59. Extremely short review.

Edited Works

  • Lund, Elizabeth, 'New-Generation African Poets showcases rich and varied artistry', Washington Post, 12 April 2016.



  • Kassabova, Kapka, 'Parts of Speech: Poem for Chris Abani', in Creativity in Exile, ed. Mike Hanne (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2004), pp. 35-36.
  • Rosen, Jerry, 'King was a gift', Post-Standard/Herald Journal, 21 January 2007, p. B1. Report on Chris Abani's keynote at the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Syracuse University.
  • 'Syracuse community honors legacy of MLK Jr.', U-Wire, 22 January 2007. Report on Chris Abani's keynote at the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Syracuse University.
  • 'Writer addresses Syracuse campus on heroism, kindness', U-Wire, 22 January 2007. Report on Chris Abani's keynote at the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Syracuse University.
  • Pride, Felicia, 'Akashic Takes Black Goat', Publishers Weekly 254.36 (10 September 2007), p. 11.
  • Geoffrey Wisner, 'Nigeria: GraceLand by Chris Abani', in his A Basket of Leaves: 99 Books that Capture the Spirit of Africa (Auckland Park: Janaca Media, 2007), pp. 187-188.
  • 'Exiled Nigerian author explores pain, promise of his roots at University of Central Florida Forum', US Fed News, 12 March 2008.
  • Samha, Lubna, 'My work is against forgetting, says Abani', Peninsula (Qatar), 25 April 2008.
  • 'Chris Abani wins beyond margins award', States News Service, 16 May 2008. Also published by US Fed News.
  • Ndukwe, Johnson, 'Nigeria's Chris Abani wins American prize', Vanguard, 8 July 2008.
  • Nelson, Davia & Nikka Silva, 'A Woman's Mission: To Teach Birth Control In Nigeria', All Things Considered, NPR, 6 May 2010. Audio & transcript. On Chris Abani's mother, Daphne Mae Hunt; includes comments by Abani.
  • Kellogg, Carolyn, 'Writers chronicle Africa in sync with World Cup', Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2010.
  • Kellogg, Carolyn, 'Chris Abani's Graceland removed from Florida reading list', Los Angeles Times, 9 August 2010.
  • Pohl, R.D., 'BABEL series author Abani's Graceland removed from high school', Buffalo News, 15 August 2010.
  • Rosenblum, Gail, 'A persistent student books a world-class storyteller', Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6 April 2011.
  • Ranzenberger, Katherine, 'Chris Abani talks art, loss and experience', Central Michigan Life, 20 February 2014. A different version was published as 'Award-winning author shares experiences for Black History Month', Midland Daily News, 25 February 2014.
  • Elliot, Jacob, 'Writer Chris Abani opens E.N. Thompson Forum lectures', Daily Nebraskan, 11 September 2014.
  • Hanson, Sherilynne, 'The Gracious Walk', L: Lincoln's Premier Lifestyle Magazine, 12 October 2014.
  • Page, Marissa, 'Writer, English Prof Chris Abani receives national arts fellowship', Daily Northwestern, 9 November 2014.
  • Baumgartner, Corey, 'Award winning novelist humanitarian speaks at SUU', Iron County Today, 22 September 2015.
  • Lee, Zachary, 'The Poetry of Monotony: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary with Chris Abani', Cornell Daily Sun, 9 November 2016. About a poetry reading by Chris Abani at Cornell.

© 2011-2017 Daria Tunca. Please do not reproduce without permission.
If you use this bibliography for the purpose of academic research,
please kindly cite this website among your sources.

Page hosted by the University of Liège

By Daria Tunca

Chris Abani was born on 27 December 1966 in Afikpo, Nigeria, to an English mother, Daphne, and a Nigerian Igbo father, Michael. In 1968, young Chris, his mother and four siblings fled Nigeria to escape the Biafran War (1967-1970). They lived in England for three years, and subsequently returned to their home country, where Michael had stayed behind to work as a Red Cross official. Chris Abani would later recreate this important episode of his family history in Daphne's Lot (2003), an epic poem retracing his mother's life and also evoking, among other things, his troubled relationship with his violent father.

Abani started writing stories when he was six, had his first piece of short fiction published when he was ten, and wrote his first novel, a thriller entitled Masters of the Board (1984), at the age of sixteen. Because the narrative recounts the attempt of an ex-Nazi officer to seize power in Nigeria, the country's real-life authorities accused Abani of providing the blueprint for a failed coup against the Babangida regime in late 1985 – an absurd claim devised after the purported leader of the conspiracy, General Vatsa, was found in possession of the book ('A Reading by Chris Abani'). Following these allegations, the writer was sent to prison, where he spent a total of six months ('Author's Note', Kalakuta Republic, 9).

As Abani reports ('Chris Abani: Interview', Creativity in Exile), the publication of his second novel, Sirocco (1987), again elicited a violent reaction from the authorities. They destroyed all copies of the book, closed down the publishing house that had issued it and arrested the writer once again, holding him for a year at Kiri Kiri maximum security prison in Lagos. Upon his release, Abani resumed the literary studies that he had started at Imo State University, Owerri, but he did not cease to voice his dissent against Nigeria's military rulers. In 1990, the staging of his play Song of a Broken Flute, which challenged the regime's position on human rights, once more led to the author's arrest and incarceration. This time, he was sentenced to death without trial. He spent another year and a half at Kiri Kiri, among which six months in solitary confinement, and was eventually released thanks to his friends' financial intervention ('Author's Note', Kalakuta Republic, 9; 'Chris Abani: Interview', Creativity in Exile). He left for London shortly afterwards and, in 1999, fearing for his life, he moved to Los Angeles, where he still resides.

Abani's memories of his experiences in prison constitute the focus of his first collection of poetry, Kalakuta Republic (2000), which depicts events of extreme violence and provides haunting reflections on human nature, survival, dignity and redemption. In this regard, the volume anticipates some of the most prominent themes running through the writer's later work, including his novel GraceLand (2004), which features sixteen-year-old Elvis Oke, an Elvis Presley impersonator who tries to eke a living in Lagos. The narrative, often described as a Bildungsroman, alternates between the protagonist's past and present, and portrays his ambiguous sexuality and the moral choices that he repeatedly faces in the violent environment of Nigeria's largest city. Another of the novel's major topics is gender, a subject also at the heart of Dog Woman (2004), a series of poems inspired by a sequence of paintings by Spanish artist Paula Rego, and of Becoming Abigail (2006), a poignant novella featuring a teenager obsessed by her dead mother. Abigail, the fourteen-year-old protagonist of the narrative, is forced to move from Nigeria to London, where she is subjected to severe sexual, physical and psychological mistreatment at the hands of her cousin Peter. While the novella fiercely denounces men's exploitation of women, it can also be read as a highly ambiguous story of female empowerment, a complexity epitomized by the main character's violent rebellion against her aggressor, and by her final act of self-annihilation.

Only months after the release of Becoming Abigail, Abani published the collection of poetry Hands Washing Water (2006), which contains several pieces that assert the fundamental oneness of human experience. The long epistolary poem 'Buffalo Women' (31-50), in particular, tackles issues of gender and race, but also covertly addresses mankind's universal propensity for violence. The latter theme is further explored in Song for Night (2007), a novella set during the final days of the Biafran War. Its narrator, a child soldier called My Luck, has both suffered terrible atrocities and committed horrific crimes, some of which he enjoyed perpetrating. While the book is violent and disturbing, it also gestures towards the possibility of redemption, as suggested by its surprising ending.

Radically different in tone, yet equally subtle in its exploration of psychological wounds, is The Virgin of Flames (2007). The novel follows the meandering soul-searching of Black, a mural artist of Salvadoran and Nigerian descent who regularly dresses as the Virgin Mary, allegedly to serve as a model for his own artistic project. The novel, set in Los Angeles, probes the complex relationship between art, religion and sexuality.

After The Virgin of Flames, Abani once again returned to poetry with the collection Sanctificum (2010). The book, which draws mainly on the Catholic, Igbo, Yoruba and Buddhist spiritual traditions, is notable for its formal inventiveness and for the fresh perspectives that it offers on some of the recurring themes in Abani's work, including religion, masculinity and war. Shortly after Sanctificum, the writer published two more volumes of poetry: a collection entitled There Are No Names for Red (2010), which puts side by side thirty poems and their source of inspiration, a series of paintings by African American writer and artist Percival Everett; further, the Nigerian author released a compilation of long poems, Feed Me the Sun (2010), which features selected pieces from all his books of poetry from Daphne's Lot onwards.

Abani's rich and provocative works have earned him many literary distinctions, including prestigious awards such as the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (2005, for GraceLand) and the PEN/Beyond Margins Award (2008, for Song for Night), and several notable fellowships, among which the Lannan Literary Fellowship (2003) and the Guggenheim Fellowship (2009). In addition to his occupation as a writer, Abani works in academia. He used to be a Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, and is now Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University in Illinois. Finally, he is also active in the publishing industry, as the founding editor of the Black Goat independent poetry series, an imprint of Akashic Books whose title humorously refers to its creator's complexion, astrological star sign and self-avowed stubbornness ('Interview with Chris Abani', LiterateNubian).

If you wish to read a more detailed introduction to Chris Abani's life and work, you can request a free offprint of my 3,000-word article 'Christopher Abani' (Literary Encyclopedia, 2010) via the University of Liège's online repository ORBi (click 'request copy').


  • Abani, Chris, Masters of the Board (Enugu: Delta, 1984).
  • ---, Sirocco (Nigeria: Swan, 1987).
  • ---, Song of a Broken Flute, dir. Chris Abani (Imo State University, 1990). Performance.
  • ---, Kalakuta Republic (London: Saqi Books, 2000).
  • ---, Daphne's Lot (Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2003).
  • ---, GraceLand (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004).
  • ---, Dog Woman (Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2004).
  • ---, 'Chris Abani: Interview', in Creativity in Exile, ed. Mike Hanne (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2004). DVD.
  • ---, Becoming Abigail (New York: Akashic Books, 2006).
  • ---, 'Interview with Chris Abani', LiterateNubian: An Oasis for All Writers, 2006. Accessed 24 November 2008. [no longer online]
  • ---, Hands Washing Water (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2006).
  • ---, Song for Night (New York: Akashic Books, 2007).
  • ---, The Virgin of Flames (New York: Penguin, 2007).
  • ---, 'A Reading by Chris Abani', Blackbird 8.1 (2009). Accessed 31 October 2010.
  • ---, Sanctificum (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2010).
  • ---, There Are No Names for Red (Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2010).
  • ---, Feed Me the Sun: Collected Long Poems (Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 2010).

    © 2011-2014 Daria Tunca. Please do not reproduce without permission.
    If you use this bibliography for the purpose of academic research,
    please kindly cite this website among your sources.

    Page hosted by the University of Liège

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