26th of March, 2pm: Chibundu Onuzo


By Mohammed Iqbaal Hussai

Chibundu Onuzo, born the youngest of four children in Nigeria in 1991 became the youngest female to be signed to a publishing heavyweight ‘Faber & Faber’. At the tender age of 19, she sent shockwaves through the world and into the hearts and minds of many young writers that anything is possible and writing can take you to the corners of the globe.

It took just thirty pages of her first novel ‘The Spider King’s Daughter’ to touch the heart of an agent, resulting in the publishing of a novel critically acclaimed and shortlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliot prize for debut novelists.

To relax, Chibundu enjoys singing and playing the piano. She says it ‘could sweep her away,’ like ‘Abike’ her protagonist from her first novel, who was swept away by a street hawker.

The book revolves around Abike, the favourite child in a wealthy family dwelling in the luxuries of the magical side of Lagos. An unlikely romance is sparked between her and a hawker from the contrasting side of Lagos, the slums. A threatening revelation forces the two to decide where their loyalties lie.

On the 7th of June 2012, she went on to receive her No.1 award as “Rare rising star”, as she was named ‘black student of the year’ at a fabulous ceremony staged at the Houses of Parliament. She is now based in the UK, taking a degree in Public Policy at University College London. Like most writers, Chibundu has one inspiration; Dickens. He is her inspiration. It wasn’t long ago, at the age of 15, Chibundu nearly gave up her writing after her short story was rejected by ‘one idiot’ making her think ‘this was the end’. Yet we now know different; she is a true inspiration and will only continue to rise. This is just the beginning!

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