Zahrah the Windseeker
Winner of the The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature
In the northern Ooni Kingdom fear of the unknown runs deep, and children born dada are rumored to have special powers. Thirteen year old Zahrah Tsami feels like a normal kid – she grows her own flora computer; has mirrors sewn onto her cloths; and stays clear of the Forbidden Greeny Jungle.
But unlike other kids in the village of Kirki , Zahrah was born with the telling dadalocks. Only her best friend, Dari, isn’t afraid of her – even when something unusual begins happening to her – something that definitely makes her different.
The two friends determine to investigate, edging closer and closer to danger. When Dari’s life is endangered, Zahrah must face her worst fears all by herself, including the very thing that makes her different.
Zahrah the Windseeker is a consistently compelling and provocative tale that suggests new ways of treating folkloristic material, particularly African folklore, in a science-fictional setting. This is a very promising first novel, not only in terms of YA fiction, but in terms of science fiction and fantasy.
-Gary Wolfe , Locus Magazine
First-time novelist Okorafor braids elements of African tribal culture and speculative fantasy into a sprawling novel, in which one discerns shades of A Girl Named Disaster (1996), by Nancy Farmer and The People Could Fly (1985), by Virginia Hamilton (to whom this book is dedicated)….Okorafor-Mbachu’s evocative setting will draw experienced fantasy readers with its heady mix of the familiar and the strange…A welcome addition to a genre sorely in need of more heroes and heroines of color.
A fantastical travelogue into the unknown of a young girl’s fears, and the magical world that surrounds her town. Written in the spirit of Clive Barker’s Abarat, with a contemporary African sensibility. Okorafor’s imagination is delightful.
-Nalo Hopkinson , author of The Chaos and Midnight Robber
Zahrah the Windseeker is a most impressive debut from newcomer Nnedi Okorafor, combining as it does an engaging, empathetic young protagonist, a rousing jungle adventure, and the weirdest fantasy world this side of The Neverending Story.
From award winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, to Chris Abani’s Graceland, Sefi Attah’s Everything Good Will Come, Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel, Iwelela’s Beasts of No Nation, another new Nigerian author, Nnedi Okorafor, has joined the pack.
-Uduma Kalu, The Guardian Newspaper (Lagos , Nigeria)
“Great Joukoujou!” Characters from traditional African storytelling are alive and kicking in this fantasy novel. Zahrah the Windseeker reads like an amazing dream you never want to end.
-Sefi Atta, author of Everything Good Will Come
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature
The 2012 Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature (Fiction)
The title and inspiration for the rap song “Greeny Jungle” by Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef was ZAHRAH THE WINDSEEKER’s Greeny Jungle
The Garden State Teen Choice Award (finalist)
The Parallax Award (finalist)
The Kindred Award (finalist)
The Locus Award (Best First Novel) (finalist)
The Golden Duck Award (finalist)