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  Lola Shoneyin (born Titilola Atinuke Alexandra Shoneyin) is a Nigerian poet and novelist. She has authored several literary works and is significantly involved in Nigeria’s art and literary scene.
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Lola is widely known for her novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, which she published in the UK in 2010. She has also written three poetry collections: So All the Time I Was Sitting on an Egg (published by Ovalonion House in 1998), Song of a Riverbird (Ovalonion House, 2002), and For The Love of Flight (Cassava Republic, 2010). Her earlier works for a general audience–including short stories and poems–appeared in the Post Express. One of these was the short story, Woman in Her Season, published in 1996. Closer to the present, her essay, Nostalgia is an Extreme Sport, was included in the collection Of this Our Country, published in 2021. Among Lola’s works are three children’s books: Mayowa and the Masquerade; Do as You are Told, Baji; and Iyaji, the House Girl. Besides her works of fiction, she has also written for newspapers such as The Scotsman, The Guardian, and The Times (all in the United Kingdom) on a variety of issues, including concerns related to life in Nigeria.
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Lola is the Founder and Director of BookBuzz, an NGO that promotes arts and culture within and beyond Nigeria. Through the NGO, she organizes the Ake Arts and Book Festival, an annual event that features some of Africa’s leading literary figures. She also co-founded Infusion, a monthly gathering for music, art, and culture which takes place in Abuja. Apart from these events, she runs Ouida Books, a Nigerian publishing house and bookshop. Lola has won several awards for her works. Her book, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, won the 2011 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and two Association of Nigerian Authors Awards (the book has been translated into seven languages).
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In 2014, she was named on Hay Festival’s Africa39, a list of 39 Subsaharan African writers under the age of 40 who would carve a path for literature in the years to come. And in 2017, she was named African Literary Person of the Year by Brittle Paper. She has also won the Ken Saro-Wiwa Award for Prose in Nigeria. In 2018, she was a judge of the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing. Lola has a BA (Hons) degree in English from Ogun State University (which she earned in 1994/95). She attended the International Writing Program in Iowa, the USA in August 1999, and was a Distinguished Scholar at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota in the same year. She also earned a teaching degree from London Metropolitan University in 2005.
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This article was first published on 23rd April 2022


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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