About

2019 Whiting Awards winner Nadia Owusu by Beowulf Sheehan

Nadia Owusu is a Brooklyn-based writer and urban planner. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award.

Her first book,”Aftershocks,” will be published by Simon and Schuster (US) and Sceptre (UK) in 2020. About “Aftershocks,” the Whiting Award selection committee said, “Ghanaian and American-Armenian by birth, Nadia Owusu’s childhood travels inform her gaze and language in this elliptical, questioning memoir. The result is prose that’s beautifully restless, always in search of music and meaning. Forged by a family secret, her sentences become skeleton keys that unlock memories and transgressions. The ambitious and elegant structure of this work houses a profound meditation on rootlessness, hybridity, and resilience. It’s rare a writer has the language and artistry to turn the raw material of a moving origin story into something that transcends the subject itself.” 

Nadia’s lyric essay chapbook, “So Devilish a Fire,” was a winner of the TAR chapbook contest and was published in January 2019. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, LUMINA, Catapult, The Literary Review, Electric Literature, Litro, Columbia Journal, and The Rumpus, among other publications.

Nadia grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. By day, she leads research and racial equity at Living Cities, an economic racial justice organization. She is a graduate of Pace University (BA), Hunter College (MS), and the Mountainview MFA program where she won the Robert J. Begeibing Prize for exceptional work and where she now teaches. Her writing is represented by Meredith Kaffel Simonoff of DeFiore & Company.