Writer and author Chika Unigwe, also a prominent voice against the sex trafficking of African women, is FEATURED SPEAKER on Day 2 of ANPA’s 25th Anniversary Convention and Scientific Assembly. Her presentation titled “Sex trafficking and sex workers in the African Diaspora: Violence, Mental Health, and Other Ills” is scheduled for Friday at 9.30 am EST.
Chika Unigwe was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria. She holds degrees from the University of Nigeria and the KU Leuven, Belgium, and obtained a doctorate from the Universiteit Leiden, Holland. Dr. Unigwe is the author of four novels, including On Black Sisters Street which won the 2012 Nigeria Literature Award and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and Night Dancer which was shortlisted for the same in 2016. Her writings have appeared in the UK Guardian, the New York Times, the UK Observer, Aeon Magazine, Al Jazeera, Wasafiri, Transition, Guernica and Aeon. She is also featured in several anthologies including Lagos Noir (2018) and Daughters of Africa (edited by Margaret Busby). Her short story collection, Better Never than Late, is out in 2019.
Dr. Unigwe, whose works have been translated into several languages including but not limited to Arabic, German, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Jewish and Italian, was a 2017 Man Booker International Prize judge, the 2016 Bonderman Assistant Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, Providence and is presently a visiting professor of Creative Writing at Emory University, Atlanta. Dr. Unigwe is also the director of Awele Creative Trust (an NGO she set up to motivate and support young writers across Nigeria).
Unigwe’s writing is motivated by her passion for equity and social justice, the same passion that drove her into a career in politics in Turnhout, Belgium. In 2006, Unigwe ran successfully for a city council seat and became the first non-European councilor in the city’s centuries-old history.
Program Chair, Dr. Ben Nwomeh, explained that the choice of Dr, Unigwe was due to her work on sex trafficking. “I have followed Unigwe’s work for many years. She is a real gem. One of our very best. On Black Sisters Street is a masterpiece that describes tragic cases of sex slavery, and Chika has been a stalwart advocate and a prominent voice in defense of the dignity of African women”, Dr. Nwomeh said. “I am so grateful that Dr. Unigwe agreed to speak at this historic anniversary conference, on this vital subject.”
ANPA President, Dr. Charmaine Emelife, explained that sex trafficking was the sort of issue the leadership had in mind when they settled on the theme “Women’s Health in a Changing World”. President Emelife told The ANPA Blog, “Thousands of African women are sold as sex slaves across Europe while the world keeps silent. This shameful ongoing exploitation and dehumanization of African women through sex trafficking need to stop”.