Ukamaka Olisakwe grew up in Kano, Nigeria, and now lives in Vermillion, South Dakota.
In 2014, she was named one of the continent’s most promising writers under the age of 40 by the UNESCO World Book Capital for the Africa39 project. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary fellowship in Writing from the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and was a resident fellow at the City of Asylum in Pittsburgh. In 2018, she won the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Emerging Writer Scholarship for the MFA in Writing and Publishing program. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction. In 2021, she won the SpringNG Women Authors Prize for her novel, Ogadinma. In 2022, she was named runner-up for the Gerald Kraak Prize.
A finalist for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, her works have appeared in the New York Times, Granta, Longreads, The Rumpus, Catapult, Rattle, Waxwing, Jalada, Brittle Paper, Hunger Mountain, Sampsonia Way, and more.
Her books include Eyes of a Goddess (2012), Ogadinma (2020), and Don’t Answer When They Call Your Name (2023). She is currently working on her fourth book.