Our author today for Authors in Our Midst is Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi, whose book was just released last week! Let’s give her a warm welcome!
If you are an Author or an Artist who is interested in having your work featured, just let me know.
Hi Balloon Juicers, my name is NaijaGal (not my usual BJ nym) and I’ve been mostly lurking on Balloon Juice since John was a Republican and I wanted to understand how principled Republicans thought.
Over fifteen years ago, I started writing a book, a novel in stories inspired by my experiences growing up in Nigeria. It features four friends who meet in a Nigerian all-girls boarding school, three of whom migrate to the US. They go back and forth between the US and Nigeria and visit other countries.
The book covers a timespan from 1897 (featuring a grandmother of one of the girls) to 2050, when the girls, now women, are in their seventies.
The last story was my first time trying my hand at speculative fiction and I’d love to know what you all think. Some of the stories were previously published in literary journals but the majority are new.
It took me so long because my full-time job involves teaching graduate students and writing or working on NIH grants. There were years when I didn’t even touch the manuscript because I didn’t have the bandwidth.
As you can imagine, I’m very excited that the book is finally published and thrilled that it got a great review in the New York Times Book Review (sorry DougJ)!
From the press release:
Nigerian author Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi makes her American debut with this dazzling collection of interlocking stories, which explores her homeland’s past, present, and possible future through the eyes of three fearless globe-trotting women.
Nonso, Remi, Aisha, and Solape meet as young, impressionable students at an all-girls boarding school, quickly forming a lifetime bond when they stand up to an older girl’s attempt at hazing. Their sisterhood is soon challenged, however, when they participate in a school rebellion, the uprising causing repercussions that will forever change their lives.
Illuminating the ties of friendship, the tangled bonds of family, the isolation of being an immigrant, and the need for belonging, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions offers a nuanced portrait of these women as they look back in their attempts to move forward.
Me, again, WaterGirl. Here’s the beginning of NaijaGal’s lovely review in the NYT.
In the nearly 20 years since I first learned of Aristotle’s belief that the best story endings are “surprising, yet inevitable,” I have rarely been as blindsided — in the best possible way — by the final moments of a book as I was while reading Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi’s “Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions: A Novel in Interlocking Stories.”
The final chapter will shock you. You will likely pause, flip back a few pages, certain that you missed something. Then you will realize that you did not, in fact, miss anything. You might scream, close the book, go for a walk and return to it, still shocked.
The brilliance of Ogunyemi’s writing is that after that walk, you’ll realize that from the book’s earliest pages (which are set in 1897) to its final pages (set in 2050), she lays out exactly what is to come.