Segun Afolabi

Afolabi is one of the freshest and most original voices in contemporary literature.

Article by Anna Battista | 14 Aug 2006

The son of a diplomat, Segun Afolabi spent the early years of his life moving from one country to another with his family: Congo, Lagos, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, the UK. The list of countries where Afolabi lived is long, as is the list of authors who influence his writing. An avid reader and admirer of writers who tackle difficult subjects, Afolabi often mentions among his favourite authors Caryl Phillips, Jamaica Kincaid, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison.

Afolabi's writing career began when his stories started appearing in literary magazines, among them Granta and the Edinburgh Review. Fame arrived last year when he won the 2005 Michael Caine Prize - a major award in African creative writing - for his short story 'Monday Morning' featured in the anthology 'A Life Elsewhere'. Like in Derek Walcott's works, exile is a fundamental trope in Afolabi's stories, which tell of displacement, dispossession and loneliness.

His first novel 'Goodbye Lucille' is scheduled to be published in 2007. Before then, you can catch Afolabi, considered by many to be one of the freshest and most original voices of contemporary literature, at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Segun Afolabi appears with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Peppers Theatre, August 12, 14:30

'A Life Elsewhere' is out now. Published by Jonathan Cape. Cover Price £11.99