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Cameroonian writer, Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamer is Oprah’s Book Club latest selection

Imbolo Mbue is no doubt living the dreams many writers wish for. From a $1 million book deal to winning the PEN/Faulkner Award and now having her book selected by Oprah Winfrey for the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. Ee at TIA can only keep wishing for more opportunities to break the ceiling. Congratulations Imbolo Mbue.



Cameroonian writer, Imbolo Mbue might as well be in a dream with the recent happenings surrounding her book. From winning the $15,000 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award in April to her book being selected for Oprah’s Book Club, Mbue’s book has received wide acclaim. Described by the Washington Post as the one novel Donald Trump should read, Behold the Dreamers has also been described as having arrived just at the right time.

In an interview with Oprah, Mbue replied to Oprah’s question of how she knew she had a novel in her, “I never thought about writing but I loved to read. I always loved literature, I loved books. So when I read Toni Morrison’s Songs of Solomon I started writing. I found about her book in 2002 when I was 21 years old in Falls Church, Virginia. I went to the library and there was a special shelf that said Oprah Book Club picked but I’d never read any of the Oprah Book Club books. So I picked Songs of Solomon and was blown away and I started writing.”

Read: Something for everyone in Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers

Oprah raved about the book in a video she posted on her Twitter and Facebook pages saying, “It’s a book to read right now”. “It’s got everything that’s grabbing the headlines in America right now. It’s about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration and the danger of the ‘us versus them’ mentality,” she said.

Published by Random House, in 2014 Mbue signed a $1 million deal for Behold the Dreamers. Mbue has been featured on CNN among other accomplishments. Having just spent past above a decade in America, the writer’s life story is not far from being intertwined with that of her characters.

Commenting on the selection, Random House wrote on Facebook: “We’re thrilled that Oprah Winfrey has chosen Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, as her new Oprah Book Club pick! A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy”.

Read: African writers make a mark in global literary awards

Nigerian writer Uwem Akpan has also had his book Say You’re One of Them selected for the Oprah Book Club in 2009.