Unoma Azuah teaches writing at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Valdosta, GA. Her research and activism focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Nigeria, and her recent book project is Blessed Body: Secret Lives of the Nigerian LGBT. Some of her writing awards include the Aidoo-Synder book award, Spectrum book award and the Hellman/Hammet award.
Her soon-to-be-published memoir ‘Embracing My Shadows’ traces Unoma Azuah’s challenging growth as a lesbian in Nigeria and how she navigated the paths of abuse, ethnic discrimination and homophobia in a hyper religious and patriarchal Nigerian society. The conflicts that dominated her development as a girl with a non-standard sexual orientation were further aggravated by being born of parents from two warring ethnic groups during the Nigerian-Biafra war. Her parents’ romance was discreet. However, their situation got 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 Azuah’s sexuality remained the shadow that continued to haunt her especially as she is forced to undergo a series of Christian deliverances to exorcise her of the homosexuality demon. These issues defined her formative years. Her memoir as the first Nigerian lesbian memoir fills a much needed gap. It is a story told from the voice of a lived experience and it affirms the lives of LGBT Nigerians who have been constantly told that their sexual orientation is un-African.
“Poetry, Religion, and Empowerment in Nigerian Lesbian Self-Writing:” The African Journal of Gender and Religion. Vol. 25. No 1. Fall 2019.
“Visual Activism for the African LGBT” A look at the documentary Born This Way. A Journal of African Literature Today: 36 Queer Theory in African Fiction and Film. November 2018.
“Celebrating Area Scatter, the drag Queen that Transgressed Gender Roles in South-East Nigeria.” Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities edited by Zethu Matebeni, Modjaji Books, South Africa 2014.
“The Video Closet: Nollywood’s Gay-Themed Movies,” published in Transition 106. 2012, University of Indiana Press.
“Extortion and Blackmail of Nigerian Lesbians and Bisexual Women,” Ryan Thoreson & Sam Cook, (Eds). Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa. Brooklyn, NY: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. 2011
Sky-high Flames first released in 2005, published by Cookingpotbooks, Jackson, TN. (April 12, 2018)
Edible Bones: Demarche Publishing LLC (January 7, 2013)
Mounting the Moon: Queer Nigerian Poems: Cookingpot Publishing (January 16, 2018)
Blessed Body: The Secret Lives of LGBT Nigerians. Cookingpot publishing, Jackson, TN 2017.
On Broken Wings: An Anthology of Best Contemporary Nigerian Poetry: Cookingpot Books (July 19, 2018)
Her latest short story, “Staying Afloat” is featured in Queer Africa 2: New Stories. MaThoko Books, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2018.