Faculty & Staff Achievements

On Campus: Oprah Book Club Author

by Edward Carpenter

Born under a palm-wine tree in Ikot Akpan Eda, Nigeria, as the grandson of a man who brought Catholicism to his village, Uwen Akpan, S.J. grew up to become an ordained Jesuit priest, an award-winning fiction writer, and Oprah Book Club author. This week, the acclaimed writer visits the University of San Francisco to read from his collection of stories about children, Say You’re One of Them

To have an African author of such prominence on campus is a rare gift, particularly for USF’s African Studies program, whose students often read African authors to gain insights into the cultures and lifestyles of different countries, said Karen Bouwer, associate professor of modern and classical language in USF’s African Studies program. African Studies is sponsoring Fr. Akpan’s Wednesday visit.

“As USF pursues its goal of social justice, children deserve special attention because they are some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” Bouwer said. “Fr. Akpan's stories teach us about their experiences as their societies struggle in the face of grinding poverty, leaving many of them orphaned and fending for themselves in the streets.”

Having the chance to listen to Fr. Akpan and question him will help inform the USF community about the harsh challenges facing many Africans, as well as appreciate the dynamism of African culture, Bouwer said.

Fr. Akpan will read from Say You’re One of Them and take part in a question-and-answer session and book signing Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. in the Xavier Room at Fromm Hall.