Q & A with Connecticut Authors: Tochi Onyebuchi
September 27, 2022 • Features & News, Q & A

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When: October 23, 2022 | 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Hartford Public Library


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COVID is still with us, although easing off a little, thank goodness. Did you have a favorite comfort genre to turn to when things were looking bleak? Something that lifted you away and to a different place for a while?

I played quite a few video games, actually. As a repository for my anxieties and brain energies, games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and The Last of Us Part 2 were invaluable. Wholly immersive experiences that demanded kinesthetic skill and concentration and that came with reward and relief baked in, they were perhaps the most effective vehicle of mental and spiritual deliverance I could have found in any medium of entertainment. None of them were easy games, and I think that helped. I couldn’t zone out, I needed to be completely and wholly present and I would often be too exhausted afterwards to even have anxiety.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere. Magazine articles, walking through the New Haven Green, TV shows, movies, video games, watercolor paintings, conversations with friends. I’m omnivorous.

Who made reading important to you?

My mother, without a doubt. The benefits, when I was young, were largely functional: increased reading comprehension, powers of articulation, et cetera. But then when I made reading my own—when it left the realm of homework and entered the domain of passion—all of those things were joined by the joy of living in a wholly and newly constructed world and the promise that I, too, had the power to make the same.

What’s the last book that had you reading past your bedtime?

I’m currently reading the political memoir Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment by Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece during the 2015 government-debt crisis. His recounting of the battle he and the Syriza government fought to get the nation out from the debtor’s prison they’d been put in by a punitive and exploitative EU lending scheme is absolutely riveting, very in the weeds and technical, but as propulsive as a thriller.

Where is your favorite place to read? 

The living room couch in my mother’s home just under the window opening out onto our front yard and the street. The place catches light beautifully.

If you had the power to invite any writer or artist, dead or alive, for dinner who would you like to have there and why?  

I admire the work of many artists but am very aware that overwhelming genius doesn’t necessarily mean they will make excellent dinner companions. However, I hear that James Baldwin was a riot at parties.




Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of the young adult novel Beasts Made of Night, which won the Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African, its sequel, Crown of Thunder, and War Girls. His novella Riot Baby, a finalist for the Hugo, the Nebula, the Locus, the Ignyte, and the NAACP Image Awards, won the New England Book Award for Fiction and an ALA Alex Award. His fiction has appeared in Panverse Three, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Obsidian, Omenana Magazine, Uncanny, and Lightspeed. His non-fiction has appeared in Tor.com, Nowhere Magazine, the Oxford University Press blog, and the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, among other places




In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege have left the great cities of the United States for the more comfortable confines of space colonies. Those left behind salvage what they can from the collapsing infrastructure. Their neighborhoods are being cannibalized, brick by brick, with materials being sent up to the colonies as a quaint reminder of the world that they wrecked.

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