We are delighted to welcome author Nadia Owusu to talk about her memoir, ‘Aftershocks’.
Her moving, intimate and unsettling memoir was published earlier this year, immediately receiving excellent reviews and reactions from readers all over the world. It was selected as a best book of the year by Vulture, Amazon, and Time, and included on British Vogue’s “Absolute Best Summer Reads for 2021” list. Her lyrical, soft storytelling and raw, painful honesty immerse the reader into her life: endless travels with her UN-diplomat Ghanaian father, abandonment by her American-Armenian mother, boarding school memories from Britain, a web of complicated relationships and struggle with depression, and lots and lots of heartache and love.
Structuring the book around the metaphor of an earthquake, triggered by her own memory of hearing about the 1988 Spitak Earthquake, Nadia leads the reader through a fairytale-like journey of a young girl, searching for a place, for identity, for peace of mind.
“When I picture an earthquake, I picture an earthquake. And, I picture my mother’s back and my father’s tumor and planes crashing into towers. When I picture an earthquake, I picture orphans in Armenia and child soldiers. I picture myself, safe, behind guarded walls. I picture an absence. I hear thunder and silence. An earthquake is trauma and vulnerability: The earth’s, mine, yours”.
From Aftershocks: A Memoir
NADIA OWUSU is a Ghanaian and Armenian-American writer and urbanist. She was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and raised in Italy, Ethiopia, England, Ghana, and Uganda. Her first book, Aftershocks, A Memoir, topped many most-anticipated and best book of the year lists, including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, TIME, Vulture, and the BBC. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice.
Nadia is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay, So Devilish a Fire won the Atlas Review chapbook contest. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Lily, Orion, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Catapult, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, and others.
By day, Nadia is the Director of Storytelling at Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm that helps social-change organizations to define goals, execute plans, and evaluate impact. She is a graduate of Pace University (BA) and Hunter College (MS). She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction at the Mountainview low-residency program where she now teaches. She lives in Brooklyn.