Catholic Priest and Writer
Rev. Fr Uwem Akpan, a Catholic priest of the Jesuit order, announced himself to the world with his breathtaking and emotionally charged book Say You’er One of Them, a book of five stories published in 2008 which won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the 2009 Beyond Margins Award. It made the Caine Prize For African Writing finalist in 2007 and was finalist for Los Angeles Time Art Seidengaum Award for First Fiction. Father Uwem is a writer with a riveting narrative grip; offshoot of his Annang ancestral folktale style, which he said he got introduced early in life by his mother while growing up.
Uwem studied Philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities and Theology at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit Priest in 2003 and received his Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. Of his inspiration, he once wrote: “I was born under a palm-wine tree in Ikot Akpan Eda in Ikot Ekpene Diocese in Nigeria. I was inspired to write by the people who sit around my village church to share palm wine after Sunday Mass, by the Bible and by the humor and endurance of the poor… I always look forward to visiting my village. No matter how high the bird flies, its legs still face the earth.”
Akwa Ibom celebrates Father Uwem for helping to spread the authentic Akwa Ibom story everywhere.