ELIZABETH'S DAUGHTER

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SYNOPSIS: Three years ago, I began a memoir of my late mother, Elizabeth Essien, who died of cancer in 2002. I traveled to Nigeria where I interviewed my mother's family and friends in Akwa Ibom State, visited her village, and schools at which she was a student and teacher before immigrating to the United States.


Elizabeth's Daughter is a memoir chronicling my journey from grief to hope, as I uncover my mother’s life as a would-be nun turned wife, and come-of-age as a writer.


ABOUT: From October 2010 to February 2011, I traveled to Nigeria to conduct research on the life of my late mother, Elizabeth Bassey Essien, who died eleven years ago from cancer. In the course of my trip, I conducted interviews with my mother's surviving relatives and childhood friends in Akwa Ibom State where she grew up, visited her village of Mbak Etoi, and schools at which she was a student and teacher before immigrating to the United States.

Elizabeth's Daughter explores issues of religion, politics, language, girls' education, sexuality, and identity through the lens of my mother's life and my own. Most broadly, it is a story about the process of remembering someone who is gone, reconciling the past, and living on in the present.


Watch me read an excerpt from Elizabeth's Daughter.

View photos from the project here.

Download a sample chapter here.

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