Arts  

Ayobami: When it rains, it pours

Rain. Photo; Pixabay

Five days after she won The Future Awards Africa Prize for Arts and Culture, Ayobami Adebayo was announced as one of the nine authors longlisted for the 9Mobile Prize for Literature.

These recognitions concern the novel Stay With Me. Ms. Adebayo’s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, “and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition”, according to her bio, but Stay With Me is the only book she has published.

The Future Awards and the 9 Mobile longlist are just the December 2017 events around this extremely lucky book. Stay With Me was an Amazon Best Book of August 2017 and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (which was won 10 years ago by Chimamanda Adichie, with Half of A Yellow Sun).

In September, Adebayo featured at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town and the South African Book Fair in Johannesburg. Back home in November, she was treated to praises at the Ake Book Festival in Abeokuta.

It is noteworthy that when she appeared at Goethe Institute’s Literary Crossroads on the same panel with the gifted Yewande Omotosho, in March, she was the underdog. It took the Molara Wood’s exemplary moderating skills to asset to the audience that this was one voice that needed to be heard. Four months later, the stars began to align for Adebayo, with the blessing of Michiko Kakutani, the revered New York Times literary critic.

“She writes not just with extraordinary grace but with genuine wisdom about love and loss and the possibility of redemption”, Ms. Kakutani wrote, in one of her last articles before retiring as the top book reviewer writing in a newspaper. “She has written a powerfully magnetic and heartbreaking book.” Since then, every serious literary page in the First World has taken notice.

Now it is tempting to say that this is an anointed member of the post- Military Generation of Nigerian writers.

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