Faith Adiele was born in rural America to a Nigerian father and Nordic-American mother. The PBS film My Journey Home documents her travel to Nigeria to find her father and siblings. She holds a BA in Southeast Asian Studies from Harvard University, an MA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, and MFAs in Fiction and Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. Her memoir about becoming the first black Buddhist nun of Thailand, Meeting Faith (W.W. Norton), received the PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir.
Adiele’s writings on spirituality, travel, and culture have been widely anthologized, and she is co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology (The New Press). Named as one of Marie Claire magazine’s “5 Women to Learn From,” Faith has been the keynote or featured speaker at universities, churches, and community centers around the world.
Her honors include the Millennium Award from Creative Nonfiction, and 15 residencies in 5 countries, including a UNESCO International Artists Bursary to Italy, the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), the Sacatar Foundation (Brazil), the Yaddo Corporation (United States), and the MacDowell Colony (United States). A contributor to O: The Oprah Magazine, Yes!, Essence, and Transition, Adiele is Associate Professor in Creative Nonfiction at California College of the Arts in the Bay Area, where she is completing Twins, an epic memoir about her heritage that will complete the story begun in the PBS film.
What’s a Nigerian-Nordic-American girl to do when she develops fibroids in rural Iowa? Battle the American health care system or summon Nordic mythology and traditional Nigerian medicine? While at the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop to write a book about meeting her African father and siblings as an adult, Faith Adiele develops a medical condition that can be interpreted—and treated— completely differently according to her three cultural backgrounds. Frustratingly, each tradition suggests that Adiele herself is responsible for her condition (and potential barrenness) for having violated gender or racial norms. While wittily detailing her struggles with doctors determined either to remove or to use her uterus as a Midwestern teaching tool, she draws parallels to history: her Nordic family’s immigration experiences, her Nigerian family’s independence struggles, and the fate of women, the poor, and folks of color in American medicine. Adiele takes a clear-eyed, sharp-tongued look at healing, from Western science to a good metaphor to Nigerian healers advertising the cure for “Lady Problems.”
Meet Faith Adiele, a Nigerian-Nordic writer with an unbelievable history.VIEW AUTHOR EXTRAS