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Writer’s Ink: Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor - TattooWhile I was at Detcon1, I noticed how many of my writing buddies had tattoos, and an idea was born…

Introducing Writer’s Ink, a feature I’ll be running more or less weekly for a while, until such time as I stop doing it. (How’s that for specific?)

I’m going to start with Nnedi Okorafor, who was the YA Guest of Honor at Detcon1. Her novels include Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax Award). Her short story collection Kabu Kabu was released in October, and her science fiction novel Lagoon was released in April, 2014. Her young adult novel Akata Witch 2: Breaking Kola is scheduled for release in 2015. She has a daughter named Anyaugo and is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, New York.

I asked Nnedi to tell us a little about her tattoo:

It’s an illustration from my first novel Zahrah the Windseeker [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] (found on page 63 of the paperback). My character Nsibidi was a windseeker (a person who can fly) who worked with fortune-telling baboons. She had this drawing tattooed on her chest; it means “storyteller.” The drawing combines the Nigerian writing script called nsibidi and the creative ideas that I gave the book’s spot artist. My tattoo artist was Chicago-based artist Ryan Henry. I learned about him in a documentary about Black tattoo artists called Color Outside the Lines. It was screened at a conference to which I was also and invited guest. I love how everything is connected.

Thank you, Nnedi, for letting me show off your art! Click the photo to embiggen and get a better look at the tattoo. I also snapped a pic of page 63 for comparison, since I just happened to have the book sitting on my shelf…

Zahrah the Windseeker, Page 63

The only danger I see with this series is that by the time I’m done, I may need to get a tattoo of my own. Because there are some writers out there with seriously cool ink.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2014 01:37 am (UTC)
I love this feature idea, and that's a great tattoo.
Jul. 27th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
Awesome idea for a post series :) Will you be just featuring authors you know, or will you eventually be looking for others? I know at least one who'd love to show theirs off.
Jul. 27th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I don't know yet. But I'll let folks know once I figure that out :-)
Jul. 27th, 2014 06:17 am (UTC)
You totally need some ink, man. (Also, you should totally ask m'wife about my own, because it's entirely her fault; and I dunno, but I may still be the only person out there with original Bryan Talbot tattooing...)
Jul. 27th, 2014 12:36 pm (UTC)
I highly recommend getting tattoos. They are awesome. I love all of mine.
Jul. 27th, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC)
How about book-inspired ink? I'm working on a Stephen King/Seanan McGuire mashup design, hehe.
Jul. 30th, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC)
Probably not, at least in the beginning. But I'm still sorting out how this is going to work. I may broaden it beyond authors in the future.
Jul. 27th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
I guess it makes sense that artists would have cooler tats; they're more willing to risk the weird.
Jul. 27th, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
No tattoos here, but I had a fun impromptu fan tattoo show-and-tell at my latest book signing. One fan had a really large and impressive one, and when I noticed it and commented, she showed it to me. Then a bunch of my other fans showed me theirs too. It was a blast, and an unexpected bit of connection for them all at the signing that I suspect they'll remember long after they have forgotten all about me :-)

(These were witches and Pagans, who are even more likely to do the unusual than writers.)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC)
Pretty much, yep :-)
Jul. 30th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
Writer's Ink is a great idea! :) I'm excited and looking forward to this. Nnedi's tattoo looks beautiful!
Jul. 30th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
The only danger I see with this series is that by the time I’m done, I may need to get a tattoo of my own.

I'm guessing Time Lord Snoopy...
Jul. 30th, 2014 08:51 pm (UTC)
Or some version of writing Snoopy...
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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