Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa and is Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil a novel about a queer, first-generation, Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C.
Iweala’s powerful novels and presentations offer audiences a visceral view of current events and moments through history, which provide an opportunity to reflect, to feel, and to engage with one-another.
Iweala’s short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications like The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and The Paris Review among others. Iweala was also the founding CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector investment in health services and health innovation in Nigeria. He sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, The International Rescue Committee and the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, Iweala lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise for Speak No Evil:
“Iweala unwinds crucial issues of choice and the burden of playing multiple parts; says Niru, ‘It’s too confusing for me to live all these lives when I want only one.’ Throughout a narrative spiraling toward tragedy, Niru’s pain is so palpable it will make you gasp…. Highly recommended.”
-Library Journal, starred review
“The classic coming-out narrative describes how the central character makes a leap from one identity to another, into a different, freer life, while the classic immigrant novel depicts what it’s like to straddle two worlds, old and new, with a foothold in each. Speak No Evil is both and neither.... The soul of Speak No Evil is the tortuous, exquisitely rendered relationship between Niru and his father.”
-The New Yorker
“A wrenching, tightly woven story about many kinds of love and many kinds of violence. Speak No Evil probes deeply but also with compassion the cruelties of a loving home. Iweala’s characters confront you in close-up, as viscerally, bodily alive as any in contemporary fiction.”
“A haunting story about identity and power.”
“Heart-wrenching .... A visceral but compassionate portrait of what it means to be different within a family, let alone society at large.”
“Delivers with immediate poignancy Niru’s struggles…. A later shift in narration allows a different and perhaps more complete picture of Niru, which Iweala also handles elegantly. Portraying cross-generational and -cultural misunderstandings with anything but simplicity, Iweala tells an essential American story.”
-Booklist, starred review
“In Uzodinma’s staggering sophomore novel (after Beasts of No Nation), the untimely disclosure of a secret shared between two teens from different backgrounds sets off a cascade of heartbreaking consequences…. Speaks volumes about white heterosexual privilege.... Notable both for the raw force of Iweala’s prose and the moving, powerful story.”
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An evocative narrative and stark dialogue keeps Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil from a single dull moment.... His characters’ rawness and beauty overwhelm page by page, looping their two stories into one heartbreaking narrative, one that embodies and echoes the pains of current, broader inequalities.”
“Iweala stirringly brings to life a young man at war with himself in this moving new novel.... Speak No Evil isn’t an easy read. It is, however, compelling, sensitively told, and satisfying.”
“The story unspools as quickly as running star Niru can clip around the track, building into a classical tragedy with modern flair.... The talented Iweala has fashioned a heart-rending story of teenage love that turns on the technological trappings and persistent prejudices of contemporary life.”
-Dallas Morning News
“A timely story of friendship, secrets, and consequences.”
“A searing take on the notion of home, and the struggle to be at home with oneself.... Speak No Evil deals with less epic subject matter [than Beasts of No Nation], but there’s subtle power in its intimacy and in its depictions of the violence we do to each other and to ourselves.”
“Speak No Evil is the rarest of novels: the one you start out just to read, then end up sinking so deeply into it, seeing yourself so clearly in it, that the novel starts reading you.”
-Marlon James, Booker Award-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
“A lovely slender volume that packs in entire worlds with complete mastery. Speak No Evil explains so much about our times and yet is never anything less than a scintillating, page-turning read.”
-Gary Shterngart, author of Little Failure
Praise for Our Kind of People:
"Statistics can scream and not be heard. To get people to listen, Iweala tells the stories of those whose lives - and deaths - make up the numbers in a measured accessible tone. The end of the story of HIV/AIDS is not yet written, but in Our Kind of People we do see the beginnings of normalcy. Communities global and local have turned the pandemic from being a death sentence to a manageable disease."
"A stunning inquiry into the AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. . . . What Iweala evokes is the human cost of AIDS, and this is where Our Kind of People excels ... He is adept at making the numbers personal through a series of character portraits ... In that sense, Iweala's focus on narrative, on sharing the voices and experiences of his subjects, becomes an act of redemption."
-- The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"In this unassuming but important book, Uzodinma Iweala gives the AIDS pandemic not just a human face but a human voice. . . . Remarkable."
-- The Times Literary Supplement
"At last, an account of the AIDS crisis from the point of view of the people most affected by it -- men, women and children of Africa, who are not simply victims but are heroes and scientists as well."
-- The Daily Beast
"Iweala's arguments are well reasoned. By making generous use of the voices of many Africans, Iweala's writing possesses an immediacy that makes his message powerful and compelling."
-- Boston Globe
Praise for Beasts of No Nation:
"An outstanding first novel. . . . Resonant, beautiful. . . . Iweala's book will be readily embraced by readers."
-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"[Beasts of No Nation] is a work of visceral urgency...it heralds the arrival of a major talent."
-- Amitav Ghosh, author of The Glass Palace
"Haunting. . . . Iweala's acute imagining of Agu's perspective allows him to depict the war as a mesh of bestial pleasures and pain. . . . A startling debut."
-- The New Yorker
"Harrowing. . . . He tells his story of unspeakable terror in a halting, not quite comprehending voice that will stay with you for a long time."
"Arresting from the start. . . . Iweala's slim, incendiary novel immerses us in the nightmarish chaos and savagery of an unnamed African country's civil war. . . . A tour de force."
-- Washington Post Book World
"A breathtaking accomplishment. ... The passages describing battle and murder are excruciating, but more devastating is the cumulative picture of a life without family, morality, or culture. ... Iweala has imagined a convincing character that did bear it and retained his humanity."
"A brilliant debut. . . . This is a remarkable novel that suggests a dazzling literary future."
-- People, four stars