Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, 2013 University at Albany graduate, recently published his first short story collection, Friday Black (2018), a satirical look at what it’s like to be young and black in America, offering surreal tales and dystopian satire about American consumerism and race.
Friday Black has received superlative praise from a number of major American authors, including George Saunders who called it, “an excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny…,” and said “The wildly talented Adjei-Brenyah has made these edgy tales immensely charming….”
Roxane Gay said, “This book is dark and captivating and essential... A call to arms and a condemnation. Adjei-Brenyah offers powerful prose as parable. The writing in this outstanding collection will make you hurt and demand your hope. Read this book.” Vulture selected Friday Black as one of "8 New Books You Should Read This October," praising Adjei-Brenyah's writing as "George Saunders for the post-Obama era, with some Paul Beatty sprinkled in."
In September, Adjei-Brenyah was named one of the best young writers by The National Book Foundation. which also presents the National Book Award. The foundation's "5 Under 35" recognizes young, debut fiction writers "whose work promised to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape." Honorees are selected by authors previously recognized by the National Book Foundation. New York State Author and Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead chose Adjei-Brenyah.
In a recent profile in Interview magzine, Christopher Bollen wrote,
"As an undergrad at SUNY Albany, Adjei-Brenyah studied with his 'literary fairy godmother' Lynne Tillman and, for his MFA at Syracuse University, worked with the maestro of satire George Saunders. While the wild inventiveness and piercing insights of Adjei-Brenyah’s stories could be described as Saunders-esque, the tough, nimble prose, which isn’t afraid to turn brutal or heartbreaking, is purely his own invention. His stories touch upon the volatile polemics of racism, consumerism, and violence in America. 'It’s a privilege to think you can escape being political,' he says. 'To make art is a political act.'"