Uche Okonkwo

Uche Okonkwo - Editor

Exeter, NH, USA

Writer (MFA) and editor (5+ years) with a keen interest in storytelling. I specialize in literary and multicultural fiction.

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Overview

I am a published writer (mostly fiction, children's non-fiction) and editor with experience in publishing, writing coaching and teaching, English language test development, ghostwriting, developmental editing, and proofreading.

During my time as managing editor at Kachifo Limited, an independent publisher based in Lagos, Nigeria, I worked on a variety of memoirs and biographies projects, as well as novels by Nigerian authors like Chimamanda Adichie, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Akwaeke Emezi, A. Igoni Barrett, and so on. I also led the production of children's textbooks on social studies, civic education, and English language, serving as a writer and researcher while also managing teams made up of other writers, freelance illustrators, and layout artists.

I have an MA in creative writing from University of Manchester, UK, and an MFA in fiction from Virginia Tech, where I taught introductory fiction and first-year writing, and served as a writing center coach.

I enjoy working on all kinds of narratives, but stories that feature coming-of-age protagonists and uncommon family dynamics are particularly engaging to me.
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
Anthologies
Contemporary Fiction
Picture Books
Short Story
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Children’s Non-Fiction

Certifications

  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fiction Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), 2017-2020
  • Master of Arts, Creative Writing University of Manchester, United Kingdom, 2012-2013

Awards

  • 2020-2021 George Bennett Creative Writing Fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Honorable mention for ‘Our Belgian Wife’ (short story) in 2019 Pushcart Prize Anthology
  • 2019 Bernard O’Keefe Scholar in Fiction, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
  • 2019 Emily Morrison Prize for Fiction at Virginia Tech
  • Spring 2017 resident at Writers’ Omi, Ledig House, New York

Work experience

Managing Editor October 2014 to March 2017

Kachifo Limited (publishers of Farafina Books)
October, 2014 – March, 2017 (over 2 years)

- Managed an editorial team of interns, editors, and graphic designers
- Edited and proofread manuscripts, ensuring that all publications conformed to the house style
- Managed the company’s submissions slush pile: assessing manuscript submissions for possible publication and/or feedback to writers
- Assessed work received from freelance writers, editors, and illustrators to ensure that they met project requirements
- Created publicity plans and materials for books, authors, and events
- Conducted research and wrote content for educational books, including Farafina’s Social Studies for Primary Schools, Civics for Primary Schools, Civics for Junior Secondary Schools and English Language for Primary Schools (forthcoming)
- Sourced new writers and freelancers for a wide range of specialties
- Drew up and managed publication timelines
- Supported graphic design as necessary, contributing to cover design and text layout

Editor August 2010 to August 2012

Kachifo Limited (publishers of Farafina Books)
August, 2010 – August, 2012 (about 2 years)

- Copy-edited and proofread manuscripts and company documents
- Managed the company’s blog and social media accounts
- Represented the company at industry events
- Assisted to execute publicity plans and events for books and authors
- Conducted research for educational books
- Read and evaluated manuscript submissions
- Answered book and publishing enquiries
- Liaised with writers, editors, and illustrators on company projects
- Assisted to draw up and manage publication timelines

Portfolio (15 selected works)

Afro: The Girl with the Magical Hair

Ofili, Okechukwu, Miller, Sharee, Worldreader

On Becoming

Makinwa, Toke

My Nigeria - People, Places and Culture

Kola-Lawal, Constance Omawumi, Lightley, Sandy

My Nigeria: Early History

Omawunmi Kola-Lawal, Constance, Worldreader

We Learn About Fire Safety (Safety and Me Book Series)

Omawunmi Kola-Lawal, Constance, Worldreader

Sula and Ja

Banda-Aaku, Ellen

Sandbank City: Lagos At 150

John Godwin, Gillian Hopwood, Akin L. Mabogunje

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