Borders Literature Online

Yewande Omotoso's Biography

Yewande Omotoso pictureYewande Omotoso (born 1980) is a South African-based novelist, architect and designer, born in Bridgetown, Barbados; and within a year of her birth went with her Barbadian mother, Nigerian father and two older brothers to Nigeria. She grew up in Ile-Ife, Osun State, until 1992, when the family moved to South Africa after her father took an academic appointment with the University of the Western Cape. She is the daughter of Nigerian writer Kole Omotoso, and the sister of film maker Akin Omotoso. She currently lives in Johannesburg.

Yewande Omotoso has said, "Regardless of how many years I’ve lived in South Africa I think of myself as a product of three nations: Barbados, Nigeria and South Africa. Nigeria forms a very strong part of my sense of myself, my identity", and in a 2015 interview she said: "Identity is complex. I love being a Nigerian, I love belonging to that identity even if my belonging is complex, due to my multiple identities and migratory life experience." She studied architecture at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and after working for some years as an architect went on to obtain a master's degree in Creative Writing at the same university.

Her two published novels have earned her considerable attention, including winning the South African Literary Award for First-Time Published Author, being shortlisted for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the M-Net Literary Awards 2012, and the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature, and being longlisted for the 2017 Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction.