Worldbuilding Initiative Distinguished Lecturer

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

In conversation with Mitchell Jackson

Thursday, April 25, 2024 at ASU's Tempe Campus

“Inventive, stirring, ingenious. Adjei-Brenyah is a versatile writer who creates a micro-universe with each story that explodes our expectations and takes us inside frustrated lives.”

—Bernardine Evaristo

“Brutal, maximalist, and often gorgeously profane missiles of dystopian satire.”


About the Author

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black (Mariner Books, 2018). Of the collection, George Saunders notes, “These stories are an excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny, yet classical in the way they take on stubborn human problems: the depravities of capitalism, love struggling to assert itself within heartless systems. The wildly talented Adjei-Brenyah has made these edgy tales immensely charming, via his resolute, heartful, immensely likeable narrators, capable of seeing the world as blessed and cursed at once.”

Adjei-Brenyah’s debut novel, Chain-Gang All-Stars, (Penguin Random House, 2023) was longlisted for the The Center for Fiction’s 2023 First Novel Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. About the book, Kiese Laymon says, “In a narrative world where the real is growingly more unbelievable than the make believe, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Chain-Gang All-Stars is an uncanny, singular feat of literature. I’ve never read satire so bruising, so brolic, so tender and really, so pitch-perfect.”

Adjei-Brenyah was selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honorees, the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Literary Hub, the Paris Review, Guernica, and Longreads.

Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University.

Works by

this author

In Conversation with Mitchell Jackson

A man with dark skin, short hair and glasses wearing a black and white sweater.

Mitchell S. Jackson is the winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing and the 2021 National Magazine Award in Feature Writing. His debut novel The Residue Years won a Whiting Award and The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. His essay collection Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family was named a best book of 2019 by fifteen publications. Jackson is also the author of Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion, described by the New York Times, as “A coffee-table book that elevates the subject to the same decorative status as a Dior or Gucci monograph.” Jackson’s other honors include fellowships, grants, and awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, the Cullman Center of the NYPL, the Lannan Foundation, PEN, and TED. His writing has been featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Time, Esquire, and Men’s Health, as well as in The New Yorker, Harpers, Harper’s Bazaar, The Paris Review, The Guardian, and elsewhere. Jackson is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Esquire. He holds the John O. Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professorship in the English Department of Arizona State University. 

Event Details

Reception at Ross-Blakley Hall at 4pm AZ

Lecture at Armstrong Hall at 5pm AZ / 6pm MT (Hybrid via Zoom)

Books available for purchase from the ASU Bookstore

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