Stunning…The author is supremely gifted at bringing both her characters and their close-knit rural town to life. Readers will eagerly await more from this writer. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Set in 1982, in rural, racially divided Ricksville, Mississippi Wade in the Water tells the story of Ella, a black, unloved, precocious eleven-year-old, and Ms. St. James, a mysterious white woman from Princeton who appears in Ella’s community to carry out some research. Soon, Ms. St. James befriends Ella, who is willing to risk everything to keep her new friend in a town that does not want her there. The relationship between Ella and Ms. St. James, at times loving and funny and other times tense and cautious, becomes more fraught and complex as Ella unwittingly pushes at Ms. St. James’s carefully constructed boundaries that guard a complicated past, and dangerous secrets that could have devastating consequences.
Told in two voices, Ella’s and Ms. St. James’s, and set around richly developed characters, this riveting, page turning coming of age story will keep readers entranced until the last shocking revelation.
Nyani Nkrumah was born in Boston and grew up in Ghana, West Africa and later Zimbabwe. Her love of writing comes from her mother, a former English and literature teacher who entertained her kids by reciting poetry and Shakespeare soliloquies on the way to school.
Nyani graduated from Amherst College where she dual majored in Biology and Black Studies. She also has a Masters from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Ph.D from Cornell University. She is also a Fulbright Fellow. In her other life, she lives in the Washington DC area with her family and works in international development. She is also known as Nyaneba Nkrumah.