Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected

Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected

A powerful journey from star athlete to sudden paralysis to creative awakening, award-winning science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor shows that what we think are our limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths.

Nnedi Okorafor was never supposed to be paralyzed. A college track star and budding entomologist, Nnedi’s lifelong battle with scoliosis was just a bump in her plan—something a simple operation would easily correct. But when Nnedi wakes from the surgery to find she can’t move her legs, her entire sense of self begins to waver. Confined to a hospital bed for months, unusual things begin to happen. Psychedelic bugs crawl her hospital walls; strange dreams visit her nightly. Nnedi begins to put these experiences into writing, conjuring up strange, fantastical stories. What Nnedi discovers during her confinement would prove to be the key to her life as a successful science fiction author: In science fiction, when something breaks, something greater often emerges from the cracks.

In Broken Places & Outer Spaces, Nnedi takes the reader on a journey from her hospital bed deep into her memories, from her painful first experiences with racism as a child in Chicago to her powerful visits to her parents’ hometown in Nigeria. From Frida Kahlo to Mary Shelly, she examines great artists and writers who have pushed through their limitations, using hardship to fuel their work. Through these compelling stories and her own, Nnedi reveals a universal truth: What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths—far greater than when we were unbroken.

A guidebook for anyone eager to understand how their limitations might actually be used as a creative springboard, Broken Places & Outer Spaces is an inspiring look at how to open up new windows in your mind.

Title:Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781501195471
Format Type:

    Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected Reviews

  • David Schaafsma

    “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places”—Ernest HemingwayA short memoir by Afro-futurist science fiction writer and Chicagoan Nnedi Okorafor (Akata Warrior,...

  • Gretchen Rubin

    I love Okorafor's fiction, and was always curious to learn more about her life, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read this memoir. Short and powerful....

  • Britta Bhler

    Some interesting thoughts on creativity but the book was way to short (112 pages) to develop any of them in depth.2.5*...

  • Vanessa Halls

    A quick and inspiring read. Okorafor's lush literary style is on full display, and every page packed a punch. It's not everyday you get such a brutally honest and intimate offering from one of your fa...

  • Donna

    A Ted talk memoir of how the author coped with being paralyzed. Just based on her fiction, I knew Nnedi Okorafor was an amazing person. I enjoy her way of looking at living with a different slant, par...

  • Kingtchalla83

    "What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become strengths greater than what we had when we were “normal” or unbroken. In much of science fiction, when something breaks, something gre...

  • Margaret

    This book speaks to me on so many levels. As a disabled woman who didn't receive a diagnosis until more than a decade after my health problems surfaced, it's been a process of looking back to see wher...

  • Cortney

    3.25A brief look into her struggles with learning to walk again after being temporarily paralyzed from surgery and how it spurred her creativity....

  • Rana

    A short little peek into the head (and body) of a favorite writer. Would love to see more of these long-format essays in book form....

  • Dey

    It always feels weird to evaluate a memoir — it can feel like criticizing the person even when you are focusing on the writing. While very powerful, the brevity means her discussion of creativity mo...