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An Orchestra of Minorities: An Evening with Chigozie Obioma and Kwame Dawes

Date: Time: 5:30 pm–7:00 pm
Johnny Carson Theater
11th & Q Streets
Lincoln NE 68588
Contact: Marco Abel,
Join us for a night of African literature and conversation featuring Chigozie Obioma, Assistant Professor and Man Book Prize nominee, and Kwame Dawes, Chancellor’s Professor and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner. The evening kicks off with a brief reading from Chigozie’s latest novel, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES, leading into a conversation between Obioma and Dawes about the novel and its place in contemporary African and world literature. A book signing and reception will follow in the Lied Commons.

Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped in her tracks.

Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family and struggles to imagine a future near a chicken coop. When her family objects to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But when he arrives he finds himself getting further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the farm he called home.

Spanning continents, traversing the earth and cosmic spaces, and told by a narrator who has lived for hundreds of years, the novel is a contemporary twist of Homer’s Odyssey. Written in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about destiny and determination.

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