Lola Shoneyin

Author of
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
    William Morrow (07/10)

Lola Shoneyin was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and spent her childhood in Nigeria and at boarding school in Edinburgh. She studied English at Ogun state University even though her dad wanted her to study law. She currently lives in Abuja, Nigeria where she teaches English and Drama at a local secondary school. She writes a weekly blog for Next newspapers, the paper founded by Pulitzer Prize winner, Dele Olojede and also contributes articles in UK newspapers. She has published two volumes of poetry and numerous short stories She has four children and is married to Ola Soyinka, the son of Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka.

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The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

When Baba Segi awoke with a bellyache for the sixth day in a row, he knew it was time to do something drastic about his fourth wife’s childlessness.

Meet Baba Segi . . .

A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing.

And his wives . . .

Iya Segi—the bride of Baba Segi’s youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband’s home.

Iya Tope—Baba Segi’s second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear.

Iya Femi—the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost.

Bolanle—Babi Segi’s fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life’s misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives . . . and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.

Lola Shoneyin Discusses The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Praise for The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

A funny and moving story told with love and compassion … a jewel of a novel.

Petina Gappah, author of An Elegy for Easterly

It is a book you’ll want to eat in a sitting – and then start again.

Diran Adebayo, author of Some Kind of Black

A rich debut… an engrossing and beautifully written domestic tale of polygamy and rivalry set in her native Nigeria.

Harper’s Bazaar

This first novel is a compelling, unsettling tale of a polygamous household, and the women within Baba Segi’s walls. Shoneyin’s sharply written portrait of a family and a nation gripped by the past yet surging into modernity, manages to be funny, disconcerting and violent all at once. An utterly gripping read.

Patricia Duncker, author of Miss Webster and Chérif

For a first novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives surprises as a powerful, mature and absorbing work of fiction. Lola Shoneyin reprises in this novel many of the strengths and virtues of her poetry: the use of language with both precision and evocative power; considerable technical skill in capturing and transfiguring minute details of individual lives and social experience; exploration and celebration of women’s lives and experiences with candor, grit, wit and insight. Like the proverbial pebble dropped in a pond, this novel will continue to haunt the reader’s imagination with suggestive ripples of wonder, sadness and delight long after the last page has been turned.

Biodun Jeyifo, Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
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