Chibundu Onuzo picked by The Observer in their top new authors of 2012
We are thrilled that The Observer has picked Chibundu Onuzo as one of their three top new authors for 2012.
As a final-year history student at King's College London, 20-year-old Chibundu Onuzo must juggle lectures, essay deadlines and writing her dissertation. But she has something else on her plate too – promoting her debut novel.
The young Nigerian writer impressed the literary world when she signed a two-book deal with Faber in February last year, the youngest woman ever to do so.
Onuzo's book, THE SPIDER KING'S DAUGHTER
, follows a pair of Lagos teenagers, a well-to-do girl called Abike and a young street hawker, as their relationship blossoms.
"It's just interesting, how people from different classes relate to each other," Onuzo says. "Abike should relate to the hawker in the same way as she relates to her driver. But the hawker is good-looking, and speaks English well, and that makes her pause."
Growing up in Lagos, the youngest daughter of two doctors, Onuzo started writing on a whim, aged 10. She typed stories on the family computer, influenced by the American TV shows she watched at home.
"It wasn't seen as something abnormal, in the sense that they [my parents] didn't discourage me," she says. "But at the same time, they didn't go, 'Our daughter's writing a book! That's amazing!' I think that would have been equally very harmful."
Her imagination began to turn to Nigeria when she moved to England to do her GCSEs. "When you're removed from Lagos, you realise that there are a lot of interesting things to write about."
Encouraged by her older sister, she sent 33 pages of THE SPIDER KING'S DAUGHTER to three agents. Capel & Land recognised her potential and asked for the rest, which took her 10 months to write. Numerous redrafts later and it's ready to hit bookshops in March.
"As a Christian I believe it's just the grace of God," she says, reflecting on her success so far. "All things work together for good."
to read the feature in full.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012