Uzodinma Iweala: Novelist, Medical Doctor & CEO

It’s another interesting time in our author series where we get to learn about brilliant Nigerian authors of national and international repute.

This week, we would be checking out Uzodinma Iweala. Does that last name ring a bell? Definitely, it should! Our Luminary is the first son of the renowned Ngozi, Okonjo-Iweala. With a writing career that started in 2003, Uzodinma has made a name for himself in the novel industry with accolades from all over the world.

Here’s the juicy part- Uzo is a trained Medical Doctor! Despite being a graduate of Medicine, he believes storytelling is his calling. In fact at a point in his life, he claimed to have wished that he could get rejected at Med school so he would have an excuse to pursue storytelling full time. But even though he didn’t fail, he still found an opportunity to make an impact with his pen. Follow me as I take you on a brief journey on the life and achievements of our author celebrity.

Early Life & Education

Born-5th November 1982

Nativity- Nigerian-American


Harvard College: English & American Literature & Language (2004)

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons: Medicine & Surgery (2011)


Beast of No Nation (2005)

Our Kind of People (2012)

Speak No Evil (2018)

Uzodinma’s debut novel, Beast of No Nation, was his thesis work in creative writing at Harvard University, which depicts a child soldier, Agu, in an unnamed African country.

Following this, he conducted a multi-year study about the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa which he compiled in his second book, the non-fictitious novel, Our Kind of People. He later released his third book, Speak No Evil in 2018, which tells the story of a gay Nigerian-American boy named Niru.

Furthermore, the book, Beast of No Nation, has been adapted as an award-winning Netflix movie that was released in 2015.  

Uzodinma Iweala Awards and Prizes

Uzodinma Iweala received:

The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

The Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.

The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize,He was also selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.

In addition are prizes he won for his debut novel:

Eager Prize for Best Undergraduate Short Story in 2003.

Horman Prize for Excellence in Creative Writing in 2003

The Le Baron Briggs Prize.

The Hoopes Prize, was awarded for an outstanding undergraduate thesis in 2004.

Dorothy Hicks Lee Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis in 2004

Mr. Uzodinma Iweala is the CEO of The Africa Center, which is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa as well as its Diaspora. He is also a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

You can check him on IG @Uiweala



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