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Sefi Atta

Encyclopedia » Biography » Authors/Writer

One of the most original, imaginative and gifted fiction writers in Africa.

Welcome to Logbaby's Biography of Sefi Atta.


Name: Sefi Atta

Pen or Nickname: Sefi Atta

Date of Birth: January 1964

Relationship Status: Married

Occupation: Author

GENRE: Short stories, Radio plays and Novels.


Sefi Atta is a Nigerian Novelist and Playwritter, famous for the book "Every Good Will Come" which has earned her multiple awards like the Wole Soyinka's Prize for Literature in Africa.


Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria into a family of 5 children to Mr. Abdul-Aziz Atta who was a northerner,  (Igbirra ethnic group) and Muslim while her mother Mrs Iyabo Atta was a  Southener and Christian. She has an elder half-sister, a brother and two younger sisters.

Her father was the Secretary to  Government of the Federation (SGF) and Head of the Civil Service who contributed immensely to the unity of Nigeria after the Civill war but died on 12th June 1972 when Sefi was 8 and so she was raised singlehandedly by her mother. Her father’s death caused them to relocated to a place near Lagos Lagoon.

At age 10 she attended Queens College, Lagos which provided a breeding ground for her as she was not initially interested in writing, She also attended Millfield School in England and in 1985 graduated from Birmingham University as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and She is a graduate of the creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles (2001).


She worked as an accountant for 10 years before she started writing at 33. Her short stories have appeared in journals such as the Los Angeles Review and Mississipi Review and her radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC. Her first novel "Everything Good Will Come" published 2005 was awarded the inaugural Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. Set in Nigeria in 1971, it charts the fate of two African girls, one born into privilege and the other, a lower class half-caste; one of whom is prepared to manipulate the traditional system while the other attempts to defy it. The novel has been translated into Dutch ”De tuin van gebroken geluk: een jeugd in Lagos” in 2009.


Sefi has a Lagos-based production company “Atta Girl Supports Care to Read”, a program she initiated to earn funds for legitimate charities through staged readings.

She was on the jury for the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

She teaches at Mississippi State University although she travels the world engaging in theater and promoting her books.


Year Award
2002  BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize
2002  Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest, 3rd Prize
2003  Red Hen Press Short Story Award, 1st prize
2003  Glimmer Train′s Very Short Fiction Award, finalist
2004  BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize
2005  PEN International David TK Wong Prize, 1st Prize
2006  Caine Prize for African Writing, shortlist
2006  Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa
2009  Noma Award for Publishing in Africa


She is married to Gboyega Ransome Kuti with whom she has a daughter, Tem. She lives in lives in Meridian, Mississippi, USA.



A Bit of Difference Swallow Everything Good Will Come How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition

        Short Stories

News from Home

      Stage plays

2005 The Engagement, MUSON Centre, Lagos

2011 The Cost of Living, Lagos Heritage Festival, Terra Kulture, Lagos

2011 Hagel auf Zamfara, Theatre Krefeld, Germany

2012 The Naming Ceremony, New World Nigeria, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London

2012 An Ordinary Legacy, The MUSON Festival, MUSON Centre, Lagos

​2014 Last Stand, Terra Kulture, Lagos

     Radio plays

2002 The Engagement, BBC Radio
2004 Makinwa's Miracle, BBC Radio
2007 A Free Day, BBC Radio
2013 The Wake, Smooth FM, Lagos


2009 Leaving on Your Mind

     Visiting Writer

2006 University of Southern Mississippi
2008 Northwestern University
2010 Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon










Article Credit: Kenechukwu Edeh

Updated 3 Years ago

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Tags:     Sefi Atta     Biography     Nigerian     Author     Play writer     Novelist