Uzodinma Iweala is an award winning writer and medical doctor who is currently the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Ventures Africa an online and print magazine focused on Business and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is the author of Beasts of No Nation(HarperCollins), a harrowing story about the life of a child soldier in a war-torn African country. Agu, the school-aged protagonist of this stunning debut novel, is recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters and becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started. Beasts of No Nation is now being made into a feature film staring Idris Elba. In his keynote presentations, Iweala shares this powerful story and talks about how African communities are working to deal with various challenges. Iweala is an ideal speaker for schools, universities, cultural groups, corporations, and health organizations.
After its release in 2005, Beasts of No Nation won numerous awards including the John Llwellyn Rhys Prize for Best First Novel, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize, the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Los Angeles Times First Book Award. It was also selected as a New York Times Notable Book. His second book, Our Kind of People (Harper), is a non-fiction account of the HIV and AIDS Epidemic in Nigeria. The book focuses on the private lives and relationships of those living with HIV and AIDS and reveals a continent's daily struggle with this epidemic. He has published numerous short stories and essays and is the author of the article "Stop Trying to Save Africa", which has been syndicated in many newspapers and textbooks around the world.
In March 2018 Iweala’s long-anticipated new novel, Speak No Evil (Harper), will debut. Speak No Evil is a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences. The novel explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people.
Iweala is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has served as an advisor to Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General's Envoy on Malaria and MDG Health Financing Advocate and was the CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector participation in improving health outcomes in Nigeria. He has worked as an Advisor at WilliamsWorks, a philanthropy consulting firm, aiding them in their sub-Saharan African work. Iweala is also a founder of Txtlite, a Nigerian company that provides pay-as-you-go solar solutions for people without access to electricity. A, supporter of African art, he is the owner of House 33, an Abuja, Nigeria based gallery that focuses on environmentally conscious art. Born in Washington D.C., he currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria and New York City.
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