Nana Nkweti

Nana Nkweti

Assistant Professor


  • MFA, Creative Writing, University of Iowa, 2014
  • BA, Political Science, Rutgers University, 1999


Nana Nkweti is a Cameroonian-American writer, Caine Prize finalist, and Iowa Writers’ Workshop alumna. Nana served as the fall 2017 Phillip Roth Writer-in-Residence at the Stadler Center for Poetry, Bucknell University, fall 2016 Hub City Writer-in-Residence and additionally received fellowships from MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, Ucross, Kimbilio, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Byrdcliffe, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Clarion West Writers Workshop.

Nana’s writing has been published in journals and magazines such as Brittle Paper, New Orleans Review, and The Baffler, amongst others. Her short story collection, Walking on Cowrie Shells, is forthcoming from Graywolf on June 1, 2021. The book focuses on the lives of hyphenated-Americans who share her multi-cultural heritage in the United States and Africa. It spans genres – literary realism, horror, mystery, YA, science fiction – and features complex, fully-embodied characters: tongue-tied linguistic anthropologists, comic book enthusiasts and even rebellious African orphan Annie’s. She hopes her stories entertain readers while also offering them a counterpoint to prevalent “heart of darkness” writing that too often depicts a singular “African” experience plagued by locusts, hunger, and tribal in-fighting.

As a Professor of English, her pedagogy explores her eclectic literary interests including sci-fi poetry, graphic novels, speculative fiction, medical humanities, the African diasporic experience, and works by female authors in genres such as horror, western, Afrofuturism, and mystery.

Selected Publications

“Marginalia” Hunger Mountain Review: Everyday Chimeras: Issue 22. March 2018.

“The Devil is a Liar” Masters Review: Fall 2017, *winner, Master Review Short Story Award for New Writers, 2nd Prize.

“It Takes a Village Some Say” The Baffler: No. 36. Fall 2017, *finalist, 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.

“It Just Kills You Inside” The New Orleans Review: The African Literary Hustle: Issue 43 //2017.

“Schoolyard Cannibal” Brittle Paper: Summer 2017, *short-listed for the Anniversary Awards – honoring works that represent a “vision of the dynamism of literature.”

“My Own Flesh and Blood” Killens Review of Arts & Letters. Fall/Winter 2012: 64-74.

(Translation) “Petty Thefts” Two Lines: World Writing in Translation. Landmarks: No. 20. Fall 2013.