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Nuzo Onoh (born 22 September 1962) is a British-Nigerian writer. She is a pioneer of the African horror subgenre.[1] Onoh's books The Reluctant Dead (2014)[2] and Unhallowed Graves (2015)[3] are both collections of ghost stories depicting core Igbo culture, traditions, beliefs and superstitions within a horror context. She is also author of The Sleepless (2016) and Dead Corpse (2017).[4][5][6]


Early lifeEdit

Born in Enugu, Nigeria, Nuzo Onoh grew up the third of the eight children of the late Chief Mrs Caroline Onoh, a former headteacher. She experienced the Biafran war with Nigeria (1967–70) as a child refugee[7] and at the age of 13, she was the victim of an attempted "exorcism" by a local pastor. Because of this experience, she now advocates for greater awareness of ritual child abuse in African communities.[8]


Nuzo Onoh attended Queen's School, in Enugu Nigeria, as well as The Mount School, a Quaker boarding school in York, and later, St Andrew's Tutorial College, Cambridge, England. Onoh holds a law degree and a master's degree in writing from Warwick University.[7]


Onoh's works have featured in numerous magazines and, to date, she is the only African horror fiction writer to have featured on Starburst, the world's longest-running magazine of cult entertainment.[9][10] She is listed in the reference book 80 Black women in Horror (Sumiko Saulson, 2017) and her stories have been included in several anthologies, including Black Magic Women Anthology, which features stories by some writers listed in 80 Black Women in Horror. Her contentest-winning story, Guardians, featured in the Nosetouch Asterisk Anthology, Vol 2, (2018)is arguably, the first African Cosmic Horror story published. She has also featured on multiple media platforms, discussing her unique writing and African Horror as a genre. She has written several blogs for Female First Magazine.[11][12] Onoh has been mentioned as one of the new British horror writers bringing a positive change to how black and minority races are portrayed in mainstream horror fiction.[13]

Onoh has also given talks and lectures, including at the prestigious Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies.[14]

Onoh writes about ghosts, vengeful African ghosts with unfinished business, and has been hailed as the "Queen of African Horror".[15] Her writings have been described as works of "magical realism and horror", exploring the "philosophical positions that define the reality of Africa and Africans in a world that is bent towards Western globalization and the annihilation of African roots in culture."[15] Her writing showcases both the beautiful and horrific in the African, mainly, Igbo culture and doesn't shy away from tackling issues of religious hypocrisy, child abuse, ritual killings, dangerous superstitions, corrupt politicians, evil witchdoctors and the plight of widows in the broader African culture, all within a fictitious horror context.[15] Her book The Sleepless, a ghost story tackling both the ritual abuse of children and the horrors of the Biafran War, has been described as "a genuine powerhouse of horror storytelling"[10] and as a work that "Goes beyond magical realism":[15] "What distinguishes her genre as 'African Horror' is the detailed exploration of African beliefs on the mysterious and the spiritual, which reveals a lot about the 'African Self'".[15]


Onoh has two children, Candice Onyeama (actor, writer and film director)[16] and Jija Orka-Gyoh (student).


  1. ^ Sam-Duru, Prisca (30 June 2015). "Nigerian-British Nuzo pioneers new literary genre, Horror Books". Vanguard News. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  2. ^ Onoh, Nuzo (1 May 2014). "The Reluctant Dead". Canaan-star publishing, UK.
  3. ^ Royce, Eden (11 July 2015). "Unhallowed Graves – Book Review". Hellnotes. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  4. ^ Onoh, Nuzo (31 October 2017). "Dead Corpse". Canaan-star publishing, UK.
  5. ^ "Ralph Fiennes, Nuzo Onoh, Gilberto Gil; The Arts Hour". BBC. BBC World Service.
  6. ^ "Dead Corpse by Nuzo Onoh". The Splits. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b Mcvie, Fiona (11 March 2016). "Here is my interview with Nuzo Onoh". authorsinterviews. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  8. ^ McCrum, Kirstie (24 June 2016). "Terrifying exorcism of writer accused of being POSSESSED by church pastor". Mirror.
  9. ^ White, Ian (27 June 2016). "Nuzo Onoh - THE SLEEPLESS". Starburst Magazine. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b White, Ian (27 June 2016). "THE SLEEPLESS". Starburst Magazine. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  11. ^ Onoh, Nuzo (3 October 2017). "6 Beautiful African Death Rituals". Female First. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  12. ^ Onoh, Nuzo (31 March 2016). "An African Witchdoctor - The Good, The Bad and The Bumbling Idiot!". Female First. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  13. ^ Sutherland, Doris V. (2 May 2017). "Fascist Ghosts: Racism and the Far Right in British Horror, Part Three". Bookmarked. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c d e Macheso, Wesley (14 November 2016). "Beyond the Magical and the Horrific: Reading Nuzo Onoh's The Sleepless". AfricanWriter. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  16. ^ "The British Urban Film Festival awards 2017 winners announced". Maroon News. 10 September 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.