Ola Awonubi studied for an MA in Creative writing and Imaginative Practice at the University of East London and in 2008 her short story The Pink House, won first prize in the National words of colour competition. This was followed by another story – The Go-Slow Journey, winning the first prize in the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2009. Some of her short stories feature on blogs and journals and anthologies such as African Writing.com, Story Time, The Ake Review, The Siren.co.uk, The Woven Tale Press and more recently Brittle Paper – an African literary journal; now a regular feature of the Guardian Books Network which features favourite literary content from around the world.
She is currently working on a collection of short stories based on the African experience in the Diaspora, and her novel – Love’s Persuasion was published by Ankara Press – the Romance imprint of Cassava Press, Abuja. Nigeria. Her second book for the imprint – I Love You Unconditionally will be out in spring 2017.
She is currently working on a Young Adults novel titled – The Ile Odo Debating and Literary Society.
What are you reading right now?
Finally reading The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages by Sophie Hardrach
Where do you write?
I usually write in my sitting room. Sometimes in front of the TV!
Does travelling inspire your writing?
Definitely. I get to day dream on the way to work. It’s amazing how the characters and plotlines start coming up in my imagination. If I’m on holiday I let the scenery boost my creativity.
Paper and pen or laptop?
What was the first book you read that made a difference?
I read Second Class Citizen by the late Buchi Emecheta and it changed my life. Made me realise the sacrifices my parents made as first generation immigrants to England.
What one book would you take to a desert island?
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Which new author should the world be reading?
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi’s inspirational debut spans two countries and seven generations, telling parallel histories of America and Ghana through the lives and descendants of two half-sisters who never meet each other.
What book or books are you most looking forward to reading next?
I’m looking forward to reading The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla and also the Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain of the Great British Bake Off is coming out this spring published by HQ.
What role does Wasafiri play for international contemporary literature?
It provides a chance for emerging writers who wouldn’t necessarily have the chance to promote and showcase stories that show the world from their perspective, history and social political standpoint.