DIDI ANOFIENEM (’14) Originally from Houston TX, the hometown of Beyoncé and Meg the Stallion, Didi is a novelist and educator residing in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her MFA from University of San Francisco in 2017, a BS from UT-Austin in 2010, and a BA from University of Houston in 2014. Passionate about words, Didi wrote her first story at the age of 8. She grew up reading Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Ntozake Shange. As an adult, her favorite authors are Octavia Butler and Laurell K. Hamilton. In the past, Didi has written romance novels, a poetry collection, several short stories, plays, and personal essays. When she’s not teaching English and creative writing, she spends her time traveling back and forth to Houston, re-reading her favorite books, dancing to Beyoncé, and playing The Sims. Author Instagram: @didi_iah_lax Author Twitter: @didianofienem
DEBUT WRITER LAUNCHES AFROCENTRIC, ALT HISTORY FANTASY SERIES Los Angeles, CA — What would the world be like if Africa had never been colonized—and if the transatlantic slave trade had never happened? The only daughter among five brothers, Essien was raised in a village where women are bred to tend to their husbands and bear children. One night, after she is led by akukoifo—mythical beings of Alkebulan folklore—to a fabled river, Essien emerges from the waters with superhuman abilities: hands that burn with the flames they contain, and the strength to overpower any of the men around her. Unsure of what this newfound power means, Essien returns to an unfamiliar world a changed woman. And when militant rebels destroy her father’s fields, leaving him crippled for life, Essien is left with no choice but to defy the social conventions of her upbringing and become the first woman to enlist in Alkebulan’s formidable military. Without the presence of her family and friends, surrounded by fellow soldiers who want her dead and powerful forces that seek to manipulate Essien’s inner magic for evil, Essien must learn to control and harness her new powers, even as she fights her destiny to become her country’s long-awaited goddess. But not everything is as it seems. Will Essien step into her destiny as Goddess of Alkebulan, or will she make a decision that will alter the course of Alkebulan history forever? Fueled by ancestral magic and the power of gods on earth, Descendants of Fire & Water is the thrilling first book in the powerful new Essien of Alkebulan series.