Prolific young Nigerian author Chibundu Onuzo to talk at the 2012 Book Festival

This article is from 2012

Chibundu Onuzo

Looking to a future beyond books

Chibundu Onuzo’s tale is a heartening one for young writers. The Nigerian-born author began her first novel when she was just 17 and secured a two-book deal with Faber at 19, before being published at 21. Her debut, The Spider King’s Daughter, follows the deepening love affair between two teenagers in Lagos: Abike, the haughty daughter of an ultra-wealthy businessman, and Runner G, a roadside hawker whose father’s suspicious death has plunged him from riches to rags.

But it slowly turns from a love story to a gripping tale of exploitation and revenge. The ending is bleak and Onuzo is cautious about the economic future for young people in Nigeria. ‘I don’t know that things are happening fast enough for people who are young and in their 20s,’ she says. ‘Jobs are being created sparingly, development is coming but it’s at an uneven pace.’

Onuzo has just finished her degree at King’s College, London, and will appear in Edinburgh alongside Argentinean writer Matías Néspolo. And she’s got great plans for her future: ‘I signed a contract for two books so I’ll finish writing that. And I’m also going to try for a Masters either in Public Policy or Public Management and Governance. One day, I want to go into politics in Nigeria.’

10-16 Aug (Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series), 5.30pm, free; 17 Aug (with Matías Néspolo), 3.30pm, £7 (£5).

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