Tope Folarin

Last updated
Tope Folarin
Tope Folarin 0289.JPG
BornOluwabusayo Temitope Folarin
1981 (age 3940)
Ogden, Utah, U.S.
OccupationAuthor
LanguageEnglish
Alma mater Morehouse College (BA)
Harris Manchester College, Oxford (MSc)
Notable awards Caine Prize (2013)
Whiting Award for Fiction (2021)
Website
www.topefolarin.com

Tope Folarin (born 1981) is a Nigerian-American writer. He won the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story "Miracle". [1] In April 2014 he was named in the Hay Festival's Africa39 project as one of the 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with the potential and the talent to define the trends of the region. [2] His story "Genesis" was shortlisted for the 2016 Caine Prize. [3]

Contents

Early life

He was born as Oluwabusayo Temitope Folarin in Ogden, Utah, to Nigerian immigrants, and has four younger siblings — three brothers and a sister, all born in the United States. [4] He grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas, where he moved with his family at the age of 14. [5]

Speaking of his upbringing in a 2016 interview, Folarin said that he and his siblings were raised with "a deep respect" for Nigeria and Africa. The children were eager to visit Nigeria, but financial constraints prevented the family from doing so. "I think my writing reflects both of these aspects of my life—a sense of closeness to Nigeria, and a distance as well," he said. [6]

After high school he enrolled at Morehouse College. He studied for a year and a half as an exchange student, first at Bates College in Maine, then at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, [5] before returning to the US and graduating from Morehouse in 2004, with a B.A. He was named a 2004 Rhodes Scholar, [7] and during the summer of 2004 was a Galbraith Scholar at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. After that, he went to England to study at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2006 with an M.Sc. in African Studies and an M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy. [4]

Career

In 2013 Folarin became the first writer based outside Africa to win the Caine Prize, which he won for his short story "Miracle." The story is set in Texas in an evangelical Nigerian church. [8] The award of the prize — which is open to anyone who was born in Africa, is an African national, or whose parents are African — generated some discussion about whether the author's connection to Africa was strong enough. [9] [10] [11]

Tope said in an interview to The Guardian :

"I'm a writer situated in the Nigerian disapora, and the Caine Prize means a lot – it feels like I'm connected to a long tradition of African writers. The Caine Prize is broadening its definition and scope. I consider myself Nigerian and American, both identities are integral to who I am. To win … feels like a seal of approval." [8]

In April 2014 he was named on the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in African literature. [12]

He has served on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation in the United States. [8]

His first novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man, was published by Simon & Schuster in August 2019. In it Folarin writes about a Nigerian family, new to America, as they try to assimilate. [13] In 2021, Folarin won the Whiting Award for Fiction. [14]

Personal life

Folarin lives in Washington, D.C. [15]

Publications

Novel

Short stories

Related Research Articles

Wole Soyinka Nigerian writer

Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, known as Wole Soyinka, is a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist in the English language. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first sub-Saharan African to be honoured in that category. Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. In 1954, he attended Government College in Ibadan, and subsequently University College Ibadan and the University of Leeds in England. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria's political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Nigerian writer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [which] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature", particularly in her second home, the United States.

Caine Prize

The Caine Prize for African Writing is an annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer, whether in Africa or elsewhere, published in the English language. The £10,000 prize was founded in the United Kingdom in 2000, and was named in memory of Sir Michael Harris Caine, former Chairman of Booker Group plc. Because of the Caine Prize's connection to the Booker Prize, the award is sometimes called the "African Booker". The prize is currently known as the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. The current Chair of the Board is Ellah Wakatama.

Chika Unigwe Nigerian-born Igbo author

Chika Nina Unigwe is a Nigerian-born Igbo author who writes in English and Dutch. In April 2014 she was selected for the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature. Previously based in Belgium, she now lives in the United States.

Helon Habila Nigerian novelist and poet (born 1967)

Helon Habila Ngalabak is a Nigerian novelist and poet, whose writing has won many prizes, including the Caine Prize in 2001. He worked as a lecturer and journalist in Nigeria before moving in 2002 to England, where he was a Chevening Scholar at the University of East Anglia, and now teaches creative writing at George Mason University, Washington, D.C.

A. Igoni Barrett

Adrian Igonibo Barrett is a Nigerian writer of short stories and novels. In 2014 he was named on the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature.

Monica Arac de Nyeko

Monica Arac de Nyeko is a Ugandan writer of short fiction, poetry, and essays, living in Nairobi. In 2007 she became the first Ugandan to win the Caine Prize for African Writing, with her story "Jambula Tree". She had previously been shortlisted for the prize in 2004 for "Strange Fruit", a story about child soldiers in Gulu, Northern Uganda. She is a member of FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association and the chief editor of T:AP Voices. She taught literature and English at St. Mary's College Kisubi before proceeding to pursue a Master in Humanitarian Assistance at the University of Groningen. Her personal essay "In the Stars" won first prize in the Women's World, Women in War Zones essay writing competition. She has been published in Memories of Sun, The Nation, IS magazine, Poetry International and several other publications. She is one of the writers announced as part of the Africa39 project unveiled by Rainbow, Hay Festival and Bloomsbury Publishing at the London Book Fair 2014. It is a list of 39 of Sub-Saharan Africa's most promising writers under the age of 40.

Stanley Onjezani Kenani is a Malawian writer of poetry and short stories. He has performed at the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, Poetry Africa in Durban, South Africa, Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, and at the Struga Poetry Evenings in Macedonia. He has read with several famous African and world poets, including Mahmoud Darwish of Palestine, Natalie Handal of Palestine/USA, Carolyn Forche of USA, Dennis Brutus of South Africa, Keorapetse Kgositsile of South Africa, Shimmer Chinodya of Zimbabwe, Chirikure Chirikure of Zimbabwe, Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga of Malawi and Alfred Msadala of Malawi among others.

Glaydah Namukasa is a Ugandan writer and midwife. She is the author of two novels, Voice of a Dream and Deadly Ambition. She is a member of FEMRITE, the Ugandan Women Writer's Association, and is currently (2014) its Chairperson. She is one of the 39 African writers announced as part of the Africa39 project unveiled by Rainbow, Hay Festival and Bloomsbury Publishing at the London Book Fair 2014. It is a list of 39 of Sub-Saharan Africa's most promising writers under the age of 40.

Lola Shoneyin

Lola Shoneyin is a Nigerian poet and author who launched her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, in the UK in May 2010. Shoneyin has forged a reputation as an adventurous, humorous and outspoken poet, having published three volumes of poetry. In April 2014 she was named on the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African literature. Lola won the PEN Award in America as well as the Ken Saro-Wiwa Award for prose in Nigeria. She was also on the list for the Orange Prize in the UK for her debut novel, The Secret of Baba Segi's Wives, in 2010. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria, where she runs the annual Aké Arts and Book Festival. In 2017, she was named African Literary Person of the Year by Brittle Paper.

Rotimi Babatunde Nigerian writer and playwright

Rotimi Babatunde is a Nigerian writer and playwright.

This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 2013.

Jackee Budesta Batanda is a Ugandan journalist, writer and entrepreneur. She is a senior managing partner with Success Spark Brand Limited, a communications and educational company, and a co-founder of Mastermind Africa Group Limited, a business-networking group. In 2006, Batanda worked as a peace writer at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. She was later awarded a research fellowship at the highly competitive Justice in Africa fellowship Programme with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2008. Batanda was International Writer-in-Residence at the Housing Authors and Literature Denmark in 2010 where she commenced work on her novel, A Lesson in Forgetting. In 2012, she was also featured in The Times alongside 19 young women shaping the future of Africa. That same year she was also a finalist in the 2012 Trust Women journalism Awards. She has been writer-in-residence at Lancaster University in the UK. She was selected by the International Women's Media Foundation as the 2011–12 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. During the fellowship, she studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for International Studies and other Boston-area universities, and worked at The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

Africa39 was a collaborative project initiated by the Hay Festival in partnership with Rainbow Book Club, celebrating Port Harcourt: UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 by identifying 39 of the most promising writers under the age of 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in the development of literature from Africa and the African diaspora. Launched in 2014, Africa39 followed the success of two previous Hay Festival initiatives linked to World Book Capital cities, Bogotá39 (2007) and Beirut39 (2009).

Okwiri Oduor is a Kenyan writer, who won the 2014 Caine Prize. In April 2014 she was named on the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African literature, with her story "Rag Doll" being included in the subsequent anthology edited by Ellah Allfrey, Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara.

Shadreck Chikoti is a Malawian writer and social activist.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim Nigerian novelist, journalist

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. He was described by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle as a northern Nigerian "literary provocateur" amidst the international acclaim his award-winning novel Season of Crimson Blossoms received in 2016.

Namwali Serpell

Carla Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches in the United States. She was also educated in the US, moving there with her family when she was nine. In April 2014 she was named on the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in African literature. Her short story "The Sack" won the 2015 Caine Prize for African fiction in English. In 2020, Serpell won the Belles-lettres category Grand Prix of Literary Associations 2019 for her novel The Old Drift.

Aké Arts and Book Festival

The Aké Arts and Book Festival is an annual literary, cultural and arts event that was founded in 2013 by the Nigerian writer Lola Shoneyin, taking place in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Although it has featured new and established writers from across the world, its focus has been to promote, develop and celebrate creativity on the African continent in diverse genres. In 2018 the festival was held for the first time in Lagos, from 24 October to 27 October, with the theme being "Fantastical Futures". The Aké Arts and Book Festival has been described as the African continent's biggest annual gathering of literary writers, editors, critics and readers.

Victor Ehikhamenor Nigerian visual artist, writer, and photographer

Victor Ehighale Ehikhamenor is a Nigerian visual artist, writer, and photographer, once described as "undeniably one of Africa’s most innovative contemporary artists" and one of "42 African Innovators to Watch". In 2017, he was selected to represent Nigeria at the Venice Biennale, the first time Nigeria would be represented in the event.

References

  1. "Previous winners: 2013 Tope Folarin", The Caine Prize.
  2. Africa39 list of artists, Hay Festival.
  3. Alison Flood, "Nigerian author Tope Folarin in running for second Caine prize", The Guardian , 11 May 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Tope Folarin", How Rhodes Scholars Think, 2007.
  5. 1 2 Krissah Thompson, "Tope Folarin finds his place in the literary world", Washington Post , 24 July 2013.
  6. Akati Khasiani, "#CainePrize2016 | Interview with Tope Folarin", Brittlepaper.com, 29 June 2016.
  7. "Black Students Awarded Rhodes Scholarship", Jet, 5 January 2004.
  8. 1 2 3 Liz Bury, "Caine prize won by Tope Folarin's 'utterly compelling' short story", The Guardian , 9 July 2013.
  9. Aaron Bady, "Miracles and Wonder, Faith and Diaspora: On Tope Folarin’s 'Miracle'", New Inquiry, 27 May 2013.
  10. Carolyn Kellogg, "Nigerian American Tope Folarin takes Caine Prize for African lit", Los Angeles Times , 9 July 2013.
  11. Simon Allison, "The Caine Prize controversy: How African do you have to be?", Daily Maverick, 11 July 2013.
  12. "Spotlight on Tope Folarin: 'I don't want to continue being an artist for long'", Africa39 Blog.
  13. "Book Marks reviews of A Particular Kind of Black Man by Tope Folarin". Book Marks. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  14. "Tope Folarin". Whiting Award. 2021. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  15. Charlotte Lytton, "Nigerian Tope Folarin wins Caine Prize for tale of deceit in Texas church", CNN, 9 July 2013.
  16. "Transition 109". Transition Magazine at the Hutchins Center.
  17. Tope Folarin, ""The Summer of Ice Cream", VQR, Fall 2014.