Tolu Ogunlesi

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Tolu Ogunlesi
Tolu Ogunlesi 2010.jpg
Ogunlesi in 2010
Tolulope Ogunlesi

(1982-03-03) 3 March 1982 (age 41)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Education International School Ibadan
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Journalist, writer, blogger
Ogunlesi (right) at the Halifax International Security Forum 2017 2017 Halifax International Security Forum (38468648216) (cropped) Imad Mesdoua, Fauziya Ali, Tolu Ogunlesi.jpg
Ogunlesi (right) at the Halifax International Security Forum 2017

Tolu Ogunlesi (born 3 March 1982) [1] is a Nigerian journalist, poet, photographer, fiction writer, and blogger. Ogunlesi was appointed to the role of special assistant on digital/new media by President Muhammadu Buhari on 18 February 2016. [2] [3] [4]


Early life and education

Ogunlesi was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Nigerian parents and has lived most of his life in Nigeria. [5] He attended the International School Ibadan. He also holds a 2004 Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. In 2011, he earned a MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, UK. [6]


As a creative writer, he is the author of a collection of poetry, Listen to the Geckos Singing from a Balcony (Bewrite Books, 2004), and a novella, Conquest & Conviviality (Hodder Murray, 2008). Among publications in which his fiction and poetry have appeared are The London Magazine , Wasafiri , Farafina , PEN Anthology of New Nigerian Writing, Litro, Brand, Orbis, Nano2ales, Stimulus Respond, Sable, Magma, Stanford's Black Arts Quarterly and World Literature Today . [7]

In 2006 he was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize, [8] in 2008 the Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer Fellowship, [9] and in 2009 a Cadbury Visiting Fellowship by the University of Birmingham. [10] He has twice been a winner of the annual CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards, in 2009 (the Arts and Culture prize) [11] and in 2013 (Coca-Cola Company Economics & Business Award), [12] [13] [14] as well as being shortlisted for the inaugural PEN/Studzinski literary prize. [15]

As a journalist, he has been a contributor to Tell Magazine , The Guardian (Lagos), Daily Independent (Nigeria), New Age , Forbes Africa , The Guardian (UK), [16] Financial Times , [17] HuffPost , [18] Business Day (Nigeria), and Premium Times . [19] He was Arts Manager Nigeria for the British Council between 2011 and 2012, [20] and has worked as a Features Editor and Editorial Board member of Next newspaper, and as a West Africa Editor for The Africa Report magazine from 2014 to 2015. He was a 2015 New Media Fellow of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP). [2]

He has said of his writing career: "I started with poetry. Then I tried my hands at fiction — my first short story, Solemn Avenue was inspired by Helon Habila's Waiting for an Angel . And then I moved to journalism — magazine pieces, interviews, satire, reviews, opinion pieces. I have tried my hands at radio drama, at television scripting. I hope to write a full-length play this year. Looking back, I think I have grown comfortable with constantly expanding the possibilities of my writing, and refusing to allow myself be held down by any particular genre." [21]

On 18 February 2016, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ogunlesi as his Special Assistant on Digital/New Media. [2]

He was selected for Harvard University’s Weatherhead fellowship in June 2022. [22]


Publications by Ogunlesi

Publication with contributions by Ogunlesi

See also

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  1. Tolu Ogunlesi CV.
  2. 1 2 3 "Buhari appoints Tolu Ogunlesi head of new media team", Premium Times, 18 February 2016.
  3. "Buhari Appoints Tolu Ogunlesi As Special Assistant On Digital And New Media", Sahara Reporters, 18 February 2016.
  4. Muyiwa, "Popular blogger, Tolu Ogunlesi becomes Special Assistant to PMB",, 19 February 2016.
  5. Tolu Ogunlesi biography, NigeriaWorld, 18 July 2004.
  6. Creative Writing Alumni, University of East Anglia.
  7. "About", Tolu Ogunlesi website.
  8. "Dorothy Prizes Awarded for 2006", Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes.
  9. "Guest writer 2008", Nordic Africa Institute.
  10. "Writers Explore New Directions in African and Caribbean Writing", University of Birmingham, 28 May 2009.
  11. "2009 Finalists and Winners", CNN Multichoice African Journalism Awards.
  12. "2013 Winners", CNN Multichoice African Journalism Awards.
  13. Ehis Okpamen, "Tolu Ogunlesi wins CNN/Multichoice African Journalist Award", Ventures Africa, 16 October 2013.
  14. "Tolu Ogunlesi's Story: 2013 CNN African Journalist of the Year Winner", Unbottled, 5 May 2014.
  15. Byron Loker, "SA PEN announces finalists for 2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award", iBhuku, 5 February 2009.
  16. Tolu Ogunlesi at The Guardian.
  17. Tolu Ogunlesi at The Exchange, Financial Times.
  18. Tolu Ogunlesi at HuffPost.
  19. Tolu Ogunlesi at Premium Times.
  20. "2013 Winners and Finalists", CNN Multichoice African Journalism Awards.
  21. Nnorom Azuonye, "Tolu Ogunlesi: The Sentinel Interview", Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 2, January 2009.
  22. Daramol, Kunle (10 June 2022). "Tolu Ogunlesi selected for Harvard's Weatherhead fellowship". TheCable. Retrieved 7 October 2022.