Chris Abani was born in Nigeria. At age sixteen he published his first novel, for which he suffered severe political persecution. He went into exile in 1991, and has since lived in England and the United States. He won a 2003 Lannan Literary Fellowship for his book Daphne's Lot, a collection of poetry. He is also the recipient of the PEN USA West Freedom to Write Award and the Prince Claus Award. Abani lives and teaches in Los Angeles.