The book for the Spring 2019 semester was Never look an American in the eye: A Memoir of flying turtles, colonial ghost, and the making of a NIgerian American by Okey Ndibe. The author visited HCC on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 12:30PM in the Events Center, including a book signing.
The program was made possible with a grant from CT Humanities.
About the Author
Okey Ndibe is the author of the novels Never look an American in the eye: A Memoir of flying turtles, colonial ghost, and the making of a Nigerian American, Foreign Gods, Inc. and Arrows of Rain, and co-editor (with Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove) of Writers Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa. Janet Maslin of The New York Times as well as Philadelphia Inquirer, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Mosaic magazine named Foreign Gods, Inc. one of the 10 best books of 2014. The novel was also included in National Public Radio’s list of best books of 2014.
Ndibe earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Brown University in Providence, RI, Trinity College in Hartford, CT (where the student newspaper named him one of 15 professors students should take classes with before graduating), Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA (where he won a new faculty teaching award), Connecticut College in New London, CT (where the student newspaper included him on a list of “five outstanding professors”), and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar).
He first came to the US to be the founding editor of African Commentary, a US-based international magazine published by the late great novelist Chinua Achebe. Among the magazine’s columnists were Achebe, Nadine Gordimer, Kofi Awoonor, Ben Okri, Michael Ekwueme Thelwell, John Edgar Wideman, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and Johnetta Cole.
Ndibe later served as an editorial writer for Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the US, where one of his essays, “Eyes To The Ground: The Perils of the Black Student,” was chosen by the Association of Opinion Page Editors as the best opinion piece in an American newspaper in 2000, and another essay, “Unwarranted Graphic Authentication,” was named the 2001 best opinion piece by the CT chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
His opinion pieces have been published by numerous publications, including The New York Times, BBC online, Al Jazeera online, Financial Times, Fabian Society Journal, and the (Nigerian) Daily Sun, where his widely syndicated weekly column appears. He is currently working on a novel titled Return Flights as well as a non-fiction book, Going Dutch and other American Mis/Adventures, a series of essay vignettes based on his immigrant experiences.
He will spent the 2015-2016 academic year as a Black Mountain Institute fellow at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 2020 One Book One College!
The book for the 2020 One Book One College will be Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad by Krystal A. Sitel.
About the Author
Born in the republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Krystal A. Sital is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir SECRETS WE KEPT: Three Women of Trinidad (W.W.Norton 2018).
A finalist for the PEN/Fusion Award, Krystal A. Sital's debut memoir Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad has garnered rave reviews by Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal, and Christian Science Monitor. Vanity Fair included it in their "What to Read This Month," Lit Hub put it on their "17 Books You Should Read This February"; PopSugar included it in their "21 Inspiring Books Written by Women You Simply Can't Miss in 2018"; and Electric Lit put it on their "46 books by Women of Color to read in 2018." The New York Times says, "Sital paints a credible and complex portrait . . . This is not the Trinidad of V. S. Naipaul . . . but, rather, a place where women's and children's lives are held in thrall by cruel men."
Nicole Dennis-Benn says it is a "stunning and unforgettable memoir…a brilliant account of gender inequality and the burdens we bear as Caribbean women."; Jean Kwok states, "Powerful and heart-wrenching."; And Andre Dubus III expresses "Once a decade or so, if we're fortunate, comes a book that seems to insist itself into being. Secrets We kept is that book. It is a love song to the author's Trinidadian mother and grandmother, yes, but it is also a hymn of justice to the ignored and forgotten wounds of enduring and resilient women throughout the ages. It is a tribute to truth in the face of denial. It is a deeply resonant, timely, and necessary work of art."
Krystal holds a BA from New Jersey City University where she double majored in creative writing and psychology, and minored in women and gender studies. She received her MFA from Hunter College where she worked with New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Harrison and Alexandra Styron. While at Hunter Krystal was awarded the Alumni Scholarship & Welfare Fund Fellowship, and was selected as a Hertog Fellow, working as a research assistant for Darryl Pinckney. She also won the Memoir Prize and was a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award.
Krystal was the world literature editor at Riffle Books, the narrative nonfiction editor for the international journal The Missing Slate, the prose editor and book reviewer for Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the editor for Mothers Always Write.
Krystal's work has appeared in ELLE, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times—Well, Salon, Catapult, Today's Parent, LitHub, The Margins, The Caribbean Writer, Brain Child, and elsewhere. She's taught creative writing, gender and sexuality, and peoples and cultures of the Caribbean at New Jersey City University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She now teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe.
A mother to three tiny humans, Krystal lives with her family in the suburbs of New Jersey.