cover image Broken Places and Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected

Broken Places and Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected

Nnedi Okorafor. TED, $16.99 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9547-1

Novelist Okorafor (Akata Witch) explains in this eloquent memoir how a harrowing medical experience caused her to reevaluate her potential, realize new goals, and begin writing science fiction. Okorafor has always suffered from scoliosis and decided while in college to have surgery to repair parts of her spine. The risky procedure left her paralyzed from the waist down. She explores how, lying in her hospital bed, her dreams of running with siblings—something she wouldn’t do again—and hallucinations of insects (induced by her morphine IV) kick-started her conception of the fantastical worlds she would eventually put to page. Filling her work with affecting, rich descriptions, she explains both her realization of what has happened and her process of moving forward: “Battling through my paralysis ignited my passion for storytelling and the transformative power of the imagination.” While recovering, Okorafor, on a whim during an arts-and-crafts class, makes a clay figurine that becomes the inspiration for her first novel. Also included is Okorafor’s wonderful analysis of how personal tragedy affected the careers of Frida Kahlo and Mary Shelley. Okorafor’s gripping account of her recovery will inspire any reader. [em](July) [/em]