Lola Shoneyin, is the British Nigerian literary powerhouse and founder of the largest book festival in Africa – Ake Festival which takes place in Lagos, Nigeria every year in October. Lola was educated at Fettes School in Edinburgh (the inspiration for Hogwarts School) and lives between London and Lagos. An award winning African author and poet, Lola was named Africa Literary Person of the Year in 2017. Her 2010 debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, published in the UK was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011 and went on to win the 2011 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award n the USA and the Ken Saro-Wiwa Award in Nigeria. In 2018 the novel was adapted for the stage at London’s Arcola Theatre where it was described by The Guardian as “Nothing short of spectacular ★★★★★.” She has also published several critically acclaimed poetry books and children’s books.

Through her Nigerian publishing imprint and bookshop Ouida Books, she has published major Nigerian authors including Nnedi Okorafor, Ayobami Adebayo, Odafe Atogun, Tade Thompson, Dami Ajayi and Hadiza El-Rufai. In many ways, Shoneyin’s life has been dedicated to breaking down the barriers of Nigerian society that stifle creativity and expression. Both in her writing and her work as a festival director, Shoneyin tirelessly advocates for a culture of creative and critical thought.

In this powerful conversation with our host Paola Diana, she talks about religion, freedom, feminism and much more. Be inspired by Lola’s story and by her wisdom and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!