Not many novelists would wander around the seedy red-light district of Antwerp in a mini-skirt and thigh-high boots to carry out research.

But this is what Nigerian writer Chika Unigwe did for her novel about the lives of African sex workers in the Belgian city.

Focusing on one example of African diasporic writing in Europe, this essay explores the social construction of black identity in relation to Chika Unigwe’s authorial self-representation as an ethnic minority writer in Flanders and to Unigwe’s second novel, become black in Belgium and how they negotiate a sense of self vis-à-vis the already pronounced social order.

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She is also the author of two children's books published by Macmillan, London.

She has published short fiction in several anthologies, journals and magazines, including Wasafiri (University of London), Moving Worlds (University of Leeds), Per Contra, Voices of the University of Wisconsin and Okike of the University of Nigeria.

Men in this novel are generally drunks, murderers, rapists, weak, cold-hearted, pathetic - although Unigwe avoids the fallacy of women as passive victims.

Hers make choices, for which there are consequences.

She has won a host of prizes and has been offered various fellowships.

Her short stories have been broadcast by the BBC World Service, Radio Nigeria, and other Commonwealth radio stations.They don't all know that this is what lies in store but, fake passports withheld, the consequences for those who try to escape are dire.Sisi, around whom most of the novel's suspense revolves, is an ambitious graduate unable to find suitable work.In the same year, her short story made the top 10 of the Million Writers Award for best online fiction.In 2005, she won third prize in the Equiano Fiction Contest.In autumn 2014 the University of Tübingen welcomed Unigwe and her fellow authors Taiye Selasi, Priya Basil and Nii Ayikwei Parkes to the year's Writers' Lectureship, all of them authors representing what Selasi calls Afropolitan Literature.