An Ordinary Wonder
Buki Papillon’s acclaimed debut novel An Ordinary Wonder revolves around an intersex Nigerian teenager whose sex at birth is unclear. The child is designated as a boy – wishful thinking on the parents’ part -- which goes wrong almost immediately. Young Oto identifies as a girl. The story is about righting this wrong.
A native of Nigeria, Papillon talks to the Library's Kaite Stover about how her work delves into African belief systems, superstitions, and folklore to fully root the tale in the African nation, as well as to humanize and add weight and depth to the character’s challenge.
Papillon won the second annual Maya Angelou Book Award given in alternate years for works of fiction and poetry. The Library, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and five other Missouri universities sponsor the national honor, which recognizes literary merit, commitment to social justice, and how a book “serves to enrich the diversity of American literature.”