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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

More on Oprah’s priest

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Interest in Fr Uwem Akpan is exploding following Oprah Winfrey’s selection of his book, Say You’re One of Them, for her trendsetting book club. There are only two copies of the book left at Amazon.co.uk and London bookshops are hurriedly placing orders for more.

According to Wikipedia, Fr Akpan as born in the southern Nigerian village of Ikot Akpan Eda; his parents were teachers. He joined the Society of Jesus at 19 in 1990 and was ordained in 2003. He earned an MFA degree in creative writing at the University of Michigan and has served in Zimbabwe. He currently has a parish in Lagos. A reader has pointed out that the Australian immigration authorities recently refused him entry to attend a writers’ festival.

The New Yorker published an excellent Q&A with Fr Akpan in 2005, when it ran his story “An Ex-Mas Feast” in its debut fiction issue. The interviewer asked him whether faith should play a role in fiction. His reply:

Since it is not something I can put away, my faith is important to me. I hope I am able to reveal the compassion of God in the faces of the people I write about. I think fiction has a way of doing this without being doctrinaire about it.

Granta interviewed Fr Akpan in 2008. The Rumpus spoke to him in February. And Entertainment Weekly has the first full “post-Oprah” interview.

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Written by Luke Coppen

September 24, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Posted in culture

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  1. […] related posts: (automatically generated)‘Oprah’s priest’ prepares for global debutMore on Oprah’s priestOprah announces new Book Club pickOprah Picks New Book Club Book, Michael Jordan: “You Made A […]


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