Nkrumah, Nyani



New Yorker and People Magazine Best Books, and featured on NPR, The New York Times, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Los Angeles Times and more...Wade in the Water is a must read for every American.

A story so poignant, gripping and lyrical, resonant with the emotional urgency of Alice Walker's classics and the poignant charm of Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, Wade in the Water tells the layered story of a friendship that develops between Ella, a 12 year-old precocious and mistreated black girl who sees God in the clouds, and Katherine St. James, a mysterious, strikingly well-dressed white woman who arrives in rural Mississippi in the early 80s.

Wade in the Water adeptly weaves fiction with historical fact to tell the story of two traumatized people whose pasts still haunt them that are drawn together in a complicated friendship. Ella has her secrets, but she desperately wants to be loved and Katherine St. James's arrival sets in motion a chain of events that ripples through both the black and white sides of the divided town of Ricksville, Mississippi. Soon Ella is willing to risk everything to keep Katherine in the town, even as she pushes at Katherine's carefully constructed boundaries that guard a complicated past, with secrets that could have devastating consequences.

Told in two voices, Ella's and Katherine St. James, this page-turner will have readers entranced, moved and unable to put it down until the very last page.


Nyani Nkrumah was born in Boston and raised in Ghana and Zimbabwe. She developed her love of reading and writing from her mother, who taught English Literature and Language and encouraged her children to recite poems and Shakespeare soliloquies. After graduating from Amherst College with a dual major in Biology and Black Studies, Nkrumah received her master’s at the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has lived in the Washington, DC, region for the past twenty years.