LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNER 2018 - Best Gay Memoir
PUBLISHING TRIANGLE AWARD nominated - RANDY SHILTZ AWARD FOR NON-FICTION
From Victoria Island, Lagos to Brooklyn, U.S.A. to Accra, Ghana to Paris, France; from across the Diaspora to the heart of the African continent, in this memoir Nigerian journalist Chike Frankie Edozien offers a highly personal series of contemporary snapshots of same gender loving Africans, unsung Great Men living their lives, triumphing and finding joy in the face of great adversity.On his travels and sojourns Edozien explores the worsening legal climate for gay men and women on the Continent; the impact homophobic American evangelical pastors are having in many countries, and its toxic intersection with political populism; and experiences the pressures on those living under harshly oppressive laws that are themselves the legacy of colonial rule - pressures that sometimes lead to seeking asylum in the West. Yet he remains hopeful, and this memoir, which is pacy, romantic and funny by turns, is also a love-letter to Africa, above all to Nigeria and the megalopolis that is Lagos.
'...an intense page turner of a memoir that is also laced with ache and longing, optimism and defiance in the face of injustice... this is a hopeful narrative, crammed with incident and telling details, and it’s a story that deserves to be savoured again and again. One of the most triumphant and joy-inducing books of the year.'
DIRIYE OSMAN, The Huffington Post (read the whole review here)
'[A] humane, sobering, yet gorgeous memoir... [Edozien] has succeeded here in reclaiming his own narrative and that of the wider gay community from the muffling jaws of discrimination with a sense of humour, guts and elegance... Where so many memoirs are being published now that have little of real substance in their pages, this is one that is both substantial and called for.'
DIANA EVANS, The Financial Times (read the whole review here)
'Frankie Edozien's The Lives of Great Men is an incredibly powerful portrayal of what it means to be a gay Nigerian man. But what makes this book so outstanding is its tender and insightful exploration of all the complicated, unspoken bonds in our most intimate relationships. In prose that is at once engaging and inquisitive, Edozien holds the human heart to light and finds the ways it manages to survive despite it all.'
MAAZA MENGISTE, author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze
“Frankie Edozien writes with an urgency that is compelling, with a vulnerable honesty that is disarming and impressive, and with elegance about his life and a subject so risky and yet necessary. This is not a memoir of coming out gay in Nigeria as much as it is a call to step into our humanity. A necessary and courageous book.”
CHRIS ABANI, author of GraceLand and The Secret History of Las Vegas
Read a great Huffington Post interview, 'Chike Frankie Edozien Represents a New Era in Nigerian Non-fiction', here.
Here's a great feature on the piece, in Salon, here.
And here's a great longer interview in Medium.
Here's a lovely piece in Gyara magazine: 'And He Walked With a Pep in His Step'.
Another great piece in Brittle Paper here.
Watch a short video about 'Lives of Great Men' by JENNIFER MAKUMBI of Manchester Metropolitan University here.
Here's a charming 2021 interview with Chike about teaching journalism in Accra, writing and life.
Chike chats with blackgayblog here.
You can buy this text from the following outlets:
You can watch this fascinating interview with Chike by Marc Lamont Hill: