Chatham University

Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Faculty and Staff

Faith Adiele
Hometown : Oakland, CA
Joined Chatham : 2012

Academic Areas of Interest

Women's travel writing; Black travel writing; Documentary narrative; Socially-engaged memoir; Hybrid and multi-genre creative nonfiction; Multicultural and international Young Adult literature

Personal Areas of Interest

International travel, Documentary film, and Food (cooking and consuming).

Personal Website : Visit Website | Visit Website


Faith Adiele was born to a Nigerian father and a Nordic-American mother, and the PBS film My Journey Home documents her travels abroad to find her father and siblings in Africa. Her travel memoir about becoming the first black Buddhist nun of Thailand, Meeting Faith, received the PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir. A popular speaker, teacher and MC, Adiele has presented at universities, churches and community centers around the world; worked as a diversity trainer and community activist; and taught memoir and travel writing in Bali, Chautauqua, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Switzerland. Her writings on travel and culture have been widely anthologized. A contributor to O: The Oprah Magazine, Yes!, Essence, and Transition, Adiele is co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology (The New Press). She currently serves as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California, where she is finishing Twins: Growing Up Nigerian / Nordic / American, an “epic memoir” that will complete the story begun in the PBS documentary. She was recently appointed Associate Professor in Creative Nonfiction at California College of the Arts.


  • AB (Southeast Asian Studies), Harvard University
  • MA (Independent Studies), Lesley University
  • MFA (Nonfiction), University of Iowa
  • MFA (Fiction) Iowa Writers’ Workshop





  • Lynn Neary of NPR’s Morning Edition asks me about TWB (traveling while Black) in Thailand
  • East & West: Creative Nonfiction and the Possibility of Post-Orientalist Travel Writing, AWP Annual Conference (Chicago, IL) 2012
  • “Let Us Go Then, You and I”: Travel Writing, Bridges to Other Worlds: Annual Literary Festival, Chatham University (Pittsburgh, PA) 20122
  • Wayward Women: Gender in Travel Writing (with Mary Morris), NonfictioNow Conference, U of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) 2010
  • X Marks the Spot: Women and Travel Writing, AWP Annual Conference (Chicago, IL) 2009
  • The Spirit of Travel: Intersections Between Travel & Transcendence, NonfictioNow Conference, U of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) 2005
  • Flying Igbos: African/American Journeys, African Studies Association Conference (New Orleans, LA) 2004
  • Meeting Faith: The Journey from Rural Farmgirl to Ivy Leaguer to Thailand’s First Black Buddhist Forest Nun, International Society for Travel Writing (Milwaukee, WI) 2004
  • Contemporary Black Travel Theory: Traveling Selves, Black Travel Writing: The Howard University Symposium (Washington, DC) 2003