Five Nigerian Authors Under 35
– Tolu Ogunlesi
Tolu Ogunlesi was born in 1982. He has written poetry since his Univetsity days. Tolu is the author of a collection of poetry, Listen to the Geckos Singing From A Balcony [Bewrite Books, UK, 2004]. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The Obituary, Wasafiri, Tango [Caine Prize Anthology 2006], Sable, Orbis, Eclectica, and elsewhere, and are forthcoming in Poesia and Jelly Paint. In 2007, he won a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize. He currently lives in Lagos, and works 8 to 5 as management consultant.
– Jumoke Verissimo
Jumoke, born 26 December 1979, Lagos, is a Nigerian poet and writer. She won First Prize, Carlos Idize Ahmed Prize for a first book of poetry 2009, Second Prize, Anthony Agbo Prize for poetry 2009 and Honourable Mention Association of Nigeria [poetry] 2009.
The Punch describes Jumoke as, ‘one of those who will change the face of literature in Nigeria.’
– Chibundu Onuzo
Chibundu Onuzo was born in Nigeria in 1991 and is the youngest of four children. She is currently studying History at Kings College, London. When not writing, Chibundu can be found playing the Piano or singing.
According to Seyi Gesinde of the Nigerian Tribune, Nigeria’s internal crises may be denting the country’s image abroad; yet, young Nigerians outside the country keep doing the country proud.
Last month, she was voted the United Kingdom’s number one Best Black student of 2012, by Rare Rising stars. This award made Chibundu the first woman to top the list.
Before now, Chibundu, in 2010 became the cynosure of all eyes when at 19 she made headlines globally as an undergraduate at King’s College, London, after signing a two novel deal with United Kingdom’s publishing giant, Faber and Faber which has published books by 12 Nobel Laureates and 6 Man Booker prize winners. For being signed on the publishing company’s label, Chibundu became the youngest female author to seal a deal with the prestigious UK Publisher.
Chibundu, who grew up in Lagos, attended Corona, Gbagada and Atlantic Hall Secondary schools, after which she traveled abroad to attend St. Swithuns school in Winchester and later attended King’s College, London
– Uzodinma Iweala
Uzodinma Iweala was born November 5, 1982 is an author and Physician who hails from Washington, DC and Nigeria. His debut novel, Beast of No Nation, is a formation of his thesis work at Harvard. It depicts a child soldier in an unnamed African country.
The book published in 2005, has received considerable critical acclaim from sources like Time Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Times and Rolling Stone.
The son of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Iweala attended St. Albens School in Washington DC and also attended Harvard College at Harvard University earning an A.B., magna cum laude, in English and American Literature and language in 2004 while at Harvard, Iweala earned Hoopes Prize and Dorothy Hicks Lee Prize for outstanding undergraduate Thesis, 2004; Eager Prize for Best Undergraduate short story, 2003; and the Horman Prize for creative writing, 2003.
He is a graduate of Columbia University college of Physician and surgeons, class 2011. He is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study at Harvard University. He won the New York Public Library’s 2006 Young Lions Fiction Award. In 2007, he was named as one of Granta magazine’s 20 best young American novelists.
– Onyeka Nwelue
Onyeka Nwelue was born on January 31, 1988. He is a Nigerian writer and filmmaker, who divide his time between India and Lagos, Nigeria. Nwelue was born in Ezeoke Nsu, Imo State, the son of a politician father, Chief Sam Nwelue and school teacher, Mrs Kate Nwelue, also an Anglican Lay Reader and cousin to notable Nigerian writers Flora Nwapa an Chukwuemeka Ike. He leaved his village and attended Umonohu Primary school until he gained admission to Mount Olives Seminary, Umuezeala Nsu. He spent six years in the seminary, and in March 2006, at the age of 18, travelled to India to pursue a career in writing, living in the house of writer Abha Iyengar, before he became famous and made friends with writers and artistes of his generation, including Jyoti Guptara, one of the Guptara Twins, who was introduced to him by young Indian Scientist, innovator of Glabenator, Apurv Mishra. His first novel, The Abyssinian Boy was written within the three months of his six months stay in India, where he had gone to write, at the invitation of the India Intercontinental cultural Association [IICCA].
In India, Nwelue practiced Hinduism before turning to atheism. He writes mainly on religion and sexuality.