Join author Unoma Azuah for a reading from her recent book Embracing My Shadow: Growing Up Lesbian in Nigeria (Beaten Track: 2020), which traces Azuah’s challenging growth as a lesbian in Nigeria.
In this book the author discusses how she navigated the paths of abuse, ethnic discrimination and homophobia in a hyper-religious and patriarchal Nigerian society. The struggles that dominated her growth as a girl with a nonstandard sexual orientation were further aggravated by the problems that came with being born of parents from two enemy camps. Her father was a Nigerian soldier, while her mother was an Igbo woman from defunct Biafra. Her parents’ romance was discreet. However, their situation became complicated when her father kidnapped her mother and her family as the Nigerian-Biafra war raged on.
Despite striving and succeeding as a college student, Unoma’s sexuality remained the shadow that continued to haunt her, especially as she was forced to undergo a series of Christian deliverances to exorcise her of the homosexuality demon. These issues defined her formative years, and escaping her trauma became a mission.
Embracing My Shadow, as the first Nigerian lesbian memoir, fills a crucial gap. It is a story of a real life experience, and it affirms the conflicts and voices of LGBTQI Nigerians who have been constantly told that their sexual orientation is un-African.
Unoma Azuah (born 23 June 1969) is a Nigerian writer, author, and activist whose research and activism focus on LGBT writing in Nigerian literature. She has published three books, two of which have won international awards.