African business, politics and lifestyle
Oprah magic for Man of God
Oprah picked “Say You’re One Of Them” as her 63rd book club selection, the first time she has chosen a book of short stories, saying these stories “left me stunned and profoundly moved.”
The collection, published in 2008, includes five separate stories from the perspective of an African child that were described as capturing the resilience of children growing up in the face of unimaginable devastation.
Uwem Akpan, who runs a parish in Lagos, told Entertainment Weekly that he was “very, very humbled” to be chosen by Oprah.
“I have permission to write, but I do not need an imprimatur from the church — that is more for people who are writing about theology and philosophy. They see that I am writing fiction and assume it is made up,” he said.
“Don’t forget that Jesus was a priest and a poet.”
Oprah’s book club is the biggest in the world with almost two million online members and books chosen for Oprah’s book club invariably skyrocket to the top of the U.S. bestseller lists. Akpan studied philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities then studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. His story collection was first published last year by Little Brown & Co, which is part of the Hachette Book Group that is owned by French publishing company Largardere.
Umem Akpan picture: Courtesy of Oprah.com