Talk & Signing: Uche Okonkwo in conversation with Todd Hearon

Join us for an event with former Phillips Exeter Academy Bennett Fellow Uche Okonkwo and PEA faculty member Todd Hearon!

A teenage girl from a poor family is dazzled by her rich, vivacious friend, but as the friend's behavior grows unstable and dangerous, she must decide whether to cover for her or risk telling the truth to get her the help she needs. A young woman and her mother bask in the envy of their neighbors when the woman receives an offer of marriage from the family of a doctor living in Belgium--though when the offer fails to materialize, that envy threatens to turn vicious, pitting them both against their community. And a lonely daughter finds herself wandering a village in eastern Nigeria in an ill-fated quest, struggling to come to terms with her mother's mental illness.

In ten vivid, evocative stories set in contemporary Nigeria, Uche Okonkwo's A Kind of Madness unravels the tensions between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends, siblings, and more, marking the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in fiction and inviting us all to consider the question: why is it that the people and places we hold closest are so often the ones that drive us to madness?


Praise for A Kind of Madness:

To read Uche Okonkwo's A Kind of Madness is to have an experience: of complex characters grappling with life's many troubles, of a robust culture, of history, of the battle between the domestic and the public, and all the big themes of life woven together. Like Jhumpa Lahiri, Okonkwo's mastery of the form is as rich as some of the short story's best practitioners and deserves every recognition it is sure to get.--Chigozie Obioma, author of An Orchestra of Minorities

Hilarious and heartbreaking. . . . A delightful debut.--Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, author of A Girl is a Body of Water

Uche Okonkwo's stories, set in contemporary Nigeria, have a gentle allure, drawing us into the intimate lives of characters and their worlds with elegant, assured prose and a deep understanding of the complex machinations of human manners and sentiment. A striking debut!--Kwame Dawes, author of Sturge Town


Uche Okonkwo's stories have been published in A Public SpaceOne StoryKenyon ReviewPloughshares, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, and Lagos Noir, among others. A former Bernard O'Keefe Scholar at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and resident at Art Omi, she is a recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy and a Steinbeck Fellowship. Okonkwo grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and is currently pursuing a creative writing PhD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Todd Hearon is the author of three collections of poems--Strange Land, No Other Gods and Crows in Eden--and a novella, Do Geese See God.  An award-winning poet, dramatist and songwriter, he has received a PEN/New England "Discovery" Award, the Friends of Literature Prize from Poetry magazine and the Poetry Foundation of America, a Rumi Prize in Poetry, the Paul Green Playwrights Prize, the Lyrics Prize from American Songwriter magazine and was named runner up/finalist for the 2024 International Acoustic Music Awards.  His two studio albums are Border Radio (2021) and Yodelady (2023).  A new album, Impossible Man, will appear in summer 2024.

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Water Street Bookstore
125 Water Street
Exeter, NH 03833
A Kind of Madness By Uche Okonkwo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781959030386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - April 16th, 2024