36 Finalists Blog: Lesley Nneka Arimah

Each day leading up to the 30th annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with one of our 36 finalists. Learn more about these incredible local writers and gear up to see the winners announced live in person April 21.


Interview with Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

Category: Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul

How does it feel to be a finalist for the MN Book Awards?

I feel immensely honored. I took the first concrete step in my writing career when I moved to Minnesota as a student a decade ago, so it’s like coming full circle.

What does writing mean to you?

Writing satisfies something in me that nothing else does.

Why are stories important for our communities?

Stories give context and texture to people who are just–and not at all–like us.

Tell us something people might not know about you.

I am a middle child between two sets of twins

What do you love about libraries?

Can I be obvious and say “books”? I read a lot and constantly. It would be an impossible habit to sustain without access to a well-appointed library.

More about Lesley Nneka Arimah:

Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and the United States. Her work has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, the Elizabeth George Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, Breadloaf and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 and is the recipient of an O’Henry Award, the 2017 Kirkus Prize, and is a Society of Midland Authors 2017 honoree.