Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue Heads to SUNY Schenectady

Courtesy of The Daily Gazette
Posted September 15, 2019

Sometimes, a book’s meaning depends on its readers, and the time period in which they read it. 

Imbolo Mbue, who is slated to visit SUNY Schenectady on Thursday, is perhaps even more aware of this than other authors. 

Her debut novel “Behold the Dreamers,” deals with timely topics of immigration, socio economic issues and, of course, the idea of the American Dream. 

“This is a very well-written book. It’s a beautiful read, an inspiring read. . . It is so relevant to what we are going through at a national level. The divisions that are being created, the tensions that exist and this book is written for a time such as this,” said Steady H. Moono, president of SUNY Schenectady.  

However, when Mbue set out to write it shortly after the financial crisis, writing a timely book was the last thing on her mind. She was more interested in telling the story of Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant and taxi driver for Clark Edwards, a top executive at Lehman Brothers, the famed investment banking company. 

“People analyze this book from many different angles, [they say] ‘It’s about the American dream or it’s about immigration, it’s about class.’ I was not interested in that; I wasn’t out to write a book about immigration or class, I was out tell the story of people and how these people’s lives were affected by this huge socioeconomic event. It was just important to me that I tell their story,” Mbue said. 

And tell their story she did. 

Continue Reading….

Imbolo Mbue to Headline Northcoast Writers' Showcase

Courtesy of
Posted March 3, 2019

Imbolo Mbue-credit Kiriko Sano.jpg

Imbolo Mbue, author of the critically acclaimed Behold the Dreamers, will be the keynote speaker for the second Northcoast Writers' Showcase from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Lakeland Community College.

Mbue's keynote will cap a day in which readers and aspiring writers can interact with dozens of talented and hard-working authors, ask questions about their writing journey, and attend workshops about the craft of writing.

The showcase begins at 11 a.m. in Lakeland's H-Building. Authors will have their books available for sale and signing throughout the event. And breakout sessions will be held during the afternoon, as well.

Both the Showcase and Mbue's keynote address are free to attend and open to all. People can register for Mbue's talk at

The Northcoast Writers' Showcase is hosted by the Lake-Geauga League of Libraries, a group of 12 libraries in Lake and Geauga County that have partnered to promote the arts, creativity and enthusiasm for learning in the region.

The Lake-Geauga League of Libraries includes Burton, Fairport Harbor, Geauga County, Kirtland, Lake Erie College, Lakeland Community College, Madison, Mentor, Morley, Perry, Wickliffe and Willoughby-Eastlake library systems.

Imbolo Mbue Talks Classism, Trump, and Discovering Her Passion for Writing at Old Dominion University

Courtesy of Old Dominion University
Posted Oct 2018
Written by Noell Saunders

Old Dom 1.jpg

Acclaimed novelist Imbolo Mbue impressed a packed crowd at Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Convocation Center, recounting her incredible journey from leaving her native Cameroon to attending an Ivy League university and becoming a best-selling author.

Her 2016 novel, "Behold the Dreamers," won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. The novel focuses on a young couple from Cameroon trying to make a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy. The novel addresses marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trap doors on the path to the American dream.

Mbue spoke at Old Dominion as part of the President's Lecture Series and annual Literary Festival.

Like her characters, Mbue was a young immigrant who struggled in her pursuit of the American dream. Long before moving to America and becoming a writer, she told the crowd, she was a little girl living in Cameroon with an unwavering curiosity.

"I was a child living a double life," she said. "I was carefree and relaxed on the outside but raging inside with a need to make sense of the world."

Mbue recalled her oceanfront hometown as a happy place where children obeyed their parents, the young obeyed the elderly, but classism was rampant, which she found perplexing. Keep Reading!

A|U Monthly Muse - October 2018 (Books That Empower)

Oct 2018 MM Quote.jpeg

October 2018: Books That Empower

Good books can be an outlet where we quench the thirst for release, but they also provide a space to resist, aspire, and transform. We hope you'll check out these three titles, filled with empowered characters and rousing themes from which to draw your own strength and renewal.

Imbolo Mbue Featured for the Dyson School's Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series

Courtesy of Cornell Chronicle
Posted September 10, 2018

Imbolo Mbue-credit Kiriko Sano.jpeg

Novelist and short story writer Imbolo Mbue will speak on the Cornell University campus Thursday, Sept. 13, as part of the Dyson School’s Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The 7 p.m. lecture in Kennedy Hall’s Call Auditorium is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.


Mbue left her native Limbe, Cameroon, to study in the U.S., and received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a master’s from Columbia University. She became a U.S. citizen in 2014, the same year she signed a $1 million deal for her novel, “Behold the Dreamers,” which won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. The novel has been translated into 12 languages, was adapted into an opera, is about to become a stage play, and was recently optioned for a movie.

All new first-year Dyson students read “Behold the Dreamers” over the summer and have discussed it in small groups.

Pace University Welcomes Imbolo Mbue for Convocation Keynote

Courtesy of Pace University
Posted September 5, 2018

convocation 2018.jpg

Pace University held its 11th Annual Convocation Ceremony in Pleasantville Tuesday. Convocation, the Latin word for “calling together” brought the freshmen class on campus to meet the wider Pace community.  Incoming Pace University students heard from Pace President Marvin Krislov, Provost Vanya Quiñones, fellow Pace students and award-winning author, Imbolo Mbue.

Imbolo Mbue gave the keynote speech. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Behold the Dreamers, which was read by the incoming class over the summer. Mbue's book is informed by her experience of being an African immigrant and the experiences of immigrants from around the world who shared their stories with her. Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue, is a novel that weaves together the stories of two different families during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 in New York City.

Go get 'em, Class of 2020!


Imbolo Mbue Named Among Carnegie Corporation's Great Immigrants


Courtesy of The Carnegie Corporation
Posted: June 28, 2018

Congrats, Imbolo Mbue!

The Carnegie Corporation of New York released its annual list of Great Immigrants today comprised of 38 naturalized citizens who enrich the fabric of American culture and strengthen our democracy through their lives, their work, and their example. The Carnegie Corporation's philanthropic foundation, its board of trustees and staff, invite Americans to help celebrate these distinguished individuals by participating in its online tribute titled “Great Immigrants, Great Americans.”

Every Fourth of July since 2006, the Corporation has sponsored the public awareness initiative to commemorate the legacy of our founder, Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, who believed strongly in both immigration and citizenship. Today the Great Immigrants tribute is an archive of accomplishment featuring more than 500 exemplary naturalized U.S. citizens. For 2018, the honorees represent 30 different countries of origin, a range of personal immigration experiences, and high-level leadership in numerous fields, all of them united through their experience of becoming Americans.

“Andrew Carnegie understood that immigrants come here to be a part of America, not apart from America” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.  “In their faith, their love of family, and their patriotism for their adopted land, these Great Immigrants have done so much — and will do so much more in the future. For this, and for all their contributions, we respect, admire, and celebrate them.”

The honorees will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in the New York Times on the Fourth of July. For the months of June and July, the Corporation has produced public awareness materials for sharing online via Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieCorp #GreatImmigrants.

Stage Adaptation of BEHOLD THE DREAMERS Scheduled for Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre

Book-It Reperatory Theatre Announces their 2018-19 Season, which includes the stage adaptions of Behold the Dreamers!

BTD on stage.jpg

Adapted by Myra Platt
Directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley
June 6-30, 2019

Jende Jonga and his wife Neni have recently emigrated from Cameroon to America to try to make a new life for themselves and their young son. Jende gets a job as a chauffeur for an investor at Lehman Brothers and Neni studies to be a pharmacist. When the Great Recession starts to upend the economy, both of them realize that America may not be the place full of hope and promise as they had once thought. Imbolo Mbue masterfully weaves a story of class divide, immigration, and marriage in her remarkable debut novel.

Behold the Dreamers a Finalist for One Book, One New York - Vote now!


The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media Entertainment, Made in NY, and New York Magazine have announced that BEHOLD THE DREAMERS was nominated as one of the five books chosen for the return of “One Book, One New York,” the exciting city-wide initiative that brings book-loving New Yorkers together to read the same book at the same time. VOTE NOW for BEHOLD THE DREAMERS for #OneBookNY at Voting ends on 4/30.

A|U Monthly Muse - March 2018 (Women's History Month)

March 2018 Quote AU.jpg

March 2018: Women's History Month

Authors Unbound celebrates three amazing authors who continue to inspire, engage and empower readers everywhere. Get in touch with us today to plan your next event!