2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Award Finalist
2014 Rolex Mentors and Protégés Arts Initiative Finalist in Literature
2014 Lambda Awards General Lesbian Fiction Finalist
2013 Society of Midland Authors Award Finalist
2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Long-listed
2013 Caine Prize in African Writing Finalist
Editors' Choice, New York Times Book Review
The Guardian's Best African Fiction of 2013
2012 United States Artists Fellowship Nominated Author
Okparanta is an unpretentious writer, but her ambition comes through in the lives she renders--young Nigerian women divided between home and a new world.
The stories are quiet and understated and lucid and gather up their power almost without the reader realizing it, then they break your heart, just like that. Such subtle and open and strong writing.
[Okparanta] confirms her place as a writer to watch with the remarkable debut collection Hapiness, Like Water... A clear-eyed, sensitive debut collection of stories by a talented young Nigerian writer exploring themes of family, religion, longing and duty.
Chinelo Okparanta's debut collection is astonishing. Her narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy, such lucidity and composure, that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the reader's heart, with the power and force of revelation.
--Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers
Okparanta's prose is tender, beautiful and evocative. These powerful stories of contemporary Nigeria are told with compassion and a certain sense of humour. What a remarkable new talent.
--Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters Street
Intricate, graceful prose propels Okparanta's profoundly moving and illuminating book. I devoured these stories and immediately wanted more. This is an arrival.
--NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing
A haunting and startlingly original collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerians both at home and in America. Okparanta's characters are forced to make difficult, often impossible choices--a university student decides to go to work as an escort to pay for her mother's medical bills, a high school teacher is asked to come home to care for her dying, abusive father--and yet they manage to prevail through quiet and sometimes surprising acts of defiance. Okparanta's prose is elegant and precise, fueled by a strong undercurrent of rage that surfaces at unexpected moments. Happiness, Like Water is a deeply affecting literary debut, the work of a sure and gifted new writer.
--Julie Otsuka, author of National Bestseller and National Book Award Finalist The Buddha in the Attic
Without bluster, Chinelo Okparanta writes stories that are brave and devastating.
--Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist