Monsters and Food: Our Pop Quiz Interview with Nnedi Okorafor

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Nnedi Okorafor, a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Her novels include Who Fears Death, Akata Witch, Zahrah the Windseeker, and The Shadow Speaker. Her upcoming novella, Binti, follows a young woman who leaves her family to attend the largest university in the universe, only to be caught up in a strange and terrifying diplomatic mission—read an excerpt here!

Join us as we cover subjects ranging from Martians to cranky monsters, and more!

Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.

One of my feet is a whole size longer than the other. One is size ten, the other is size eleven.

What would your Patronus/familiar be?

A cheetah.

Describe your favorite place to write.

At my messy desk which is dominated by my super-powerful and monstrous desktop computer and trusty ergonomic keyboard that’s so old that many of the letters and numbers have been rubbed off.

binti-coverName your three favorite fictional villains of all time. Alternately: Heroes vs. Villains—which are more fun to write?

Li’l Zé in City of God, Al Swearengen from the show Deadwood and Madame Koto in Famished Road. It’s more fun to write villains. They are more of a challenge and I get a sick kind of pleasure out of delving into their minds. There’s rarely emptiness and there is almost always deep intelligence. And usually there is a sort of brutal honesty in villains that I can appreciate. There’s a story in Kabu Kabu called “Bakasi Man” where I got to explore the mind of a “bad man.” It was fun. In Who Fears Death, Onyesonwu’s biological father may come off to many as eeeevil, but to me he is many things. I know every detail about him and every twist and turn of his mind and why he does what he does. There is a lot to that man. Some of this made it into the book, some did not.

What’s your favorite method of procrastination?

Watching cartoons while eating something warm and sweet.

Do you have a favorite word?


Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

Godzilla. And not the heroic Godzilla, the one that comes and destroys sh*t for no reason.

Would you rather discover the fountain of youth or proof of life on Mars?

Life on Mars, definitely! Youth is highly overrated, Martians aren’t.

List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.

  1. I shape shift, so you might find smiling frogs and fluttering butterflies in my stories or torn up bodies and rivers of blood. Depends on the tale. This is why Kabu Kabu was so fun. There are so many different stories in it!
  2. I love writing about monsters and food.
  3. Much of what many assume I’ve made up is real.


This article originally appeared November 12, 2013 on


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