CHICAGO — On Friday, September 18, 2009, Oprah revealed the 63rd Oprah’s Book Club pick Say You’re One of Them by author Uwem Akpan. Her selection of Akpan’s debut collection marks the first time Winfrey has ever chosen a book of short stories. She said, “These stories left me stunned and profoundly moved.”
Told in five separate stories, each from the perspective of an African child protagonist, Say You’re One of Them vividly captures the resilience of children in the face of unimaginable devastation. Published in 2008, this compelling unforgettable work depicts Africa in its glory and grace as well as its horror and pain.
Author Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. “My Parents’ Bedroom,” a story from his short story collection, Say You’re One of Them, was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2007. Say You’re One of Them won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) 2009 and PEN/Beyond Margins Award 2009 and was finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In 2007, Akpan taught at a Jesuit college in Harare, Zimbabwe. Now he serves at Christ the King Church, Ilasamaja-Lagos, Nigeria.
As the biggest book club in the world, Oprah's Book Club has nearly 2 million online members. Each of its selections have skyrocketed to the top of bestsellers lists. Enrollment is free and provides members with access to benefits such as online discussion groups and reading questions. Oprah's Book Club also works with the American Library Association (ALA) to distribute thousands of free Book Club selections donated by each publisher, to school, public, and community college libraries nationwide. The Chicago-based ALA, www.ala.org, is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 64,000 members.
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