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Lola Shoneyin

Encyclopedia » Biography » Authors/Writer

An Educator, Literati, Novelist and the Daughter In-law to the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

Welcome to Logbaby's Biography of Lola Shoneyin.


Name: Titilola Atinuke Alexandrah Shoneyin

Pen or Nickname: Lola Shoneyin

Date of Birth: February 26th, 1974

Relationship Status: Married with 4 children

Occupation: Author

GENRE: Poetry, Fiction and Essay


Lola Shoneyin is a Nigerian Poet and Author who was named on the Hay Festival's Africa 39. This list rates the 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African Literature.


Lola was born on 26 February 1974 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria to Chief Tinuoye and Mrs Yetunde Shoneyin (nee Okupe) who are from the Remo ethnic group in Ogun State, Nigeria. She is the last born of 6 children and the only girl.

When Shoneyin was 6 years old, her parents sent her to boarding school in the United Kingdom called Cargilfield School in Edinburgh. She returned to Nigeria after her father was imprisoned by the then military government and completed her secondary education at Abadina College, Ibadan and later proceeded to study English at Ogun State University, although her father wanted her to study law. She later got her BA (hons) degree from Ogun State University in 1994/95.

She attended the renowned Iowa International Writers Programme in Iowa, U.S.A, in August 1999 and in the same year she was a Distinguished Scholar at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota U.S.A.

She also obtained a teaching degree from London Metropolitan University in 2005.


Shoneyin's early writings consist mainly of poetry and short stories. Early examples of her work appeared in Post Express (U.K Newspaper) in 1995, which features a short story about a Nigerian woman who leaves her husband for an Austrian woman. This story initiated dialogue about homosexuality within a Nigerian context.

Her works were relatively influenced by her cultural background notably providing an insight into polygamy in her Book “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives owing to the fact that her grandfathers were polygamists, her maternal grandfather His Royal Highness (HRH) Abraham Olayinka Okupe who was the traditional ruler of Iperu Remo (1896-1976) had 5 wives.

Her first Novel “The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives”  which she was initially titled "Serpent’s Tail" was launched in the Uk in May 2010 and has been translated into 7 Languages and published in Italian as "Prudenti come Serpenti".



Lola has in addition to her books written for newspapers, including The Scotsman. The Guardian and The Times on issues such as racism, Nigeria's tradition of polygamous marriage the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and the elections of now President Muhammadu Buhari.

In 2012 she was the deputy principal at a secondary school in Abuja, Nigeria, where she also taught English language.

Shoneyin is currently the director of Book Buzz Foundation, Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation whose main aims are promoting literacy through the creation of reading programmes for children, developing reading spaces and which also organises the Ake Arts and Book Festival once a month.


Year Award
2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award
N/A Association of Nigerian Authors Awards (2 times)


She is married to Olaokun Soyinka, a medical doctor and the son of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. She currently lives in Lagos with her Husband and four children.



The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives


Woman in Her Season


Mayowa and the Masquerade


For the Love of Flight So All the Time I was Sitting on an Egg Song of a River Bird


Article Credit: Kenechukwu Edeh

Updated 3 Years ago

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