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Imachibundu Oluwadara Onuzo FRSL (born 1991) is a Nigerian novelist. Her first novel, The Spider King's Daughter, won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature.[1]

Chibundu Onuzo
Five speakers sitting on a stage with their names on a screen behind them.
Chibundu Onuzo speaking at The Untold Festival, BBC Broadcasting House
Imachibundu Oluwadara Onuzo

1991 (age 27–28)
Lagos, Nigeria
Notable work
The Spider King's Daughter



Chibundu Onuzo was born in Nigeria in 1991, the youngest of four children of parents who are doctors, and grew up there in Lagos.[2][3] She moved to England when she was 14 to study at an all-girls' school in Winchester, Hampshire, for her GCSEs,[4] and at the age of 17 began writing her first novel, which was signed two years later by Faber and Faber and was published when she was 21.[5][6] She was the youngest female writer ever taken on by the publisher.[7] Reviewing her second book, Welcome to Lagos (2016), Helon Habila wrote in The Guardian: "Onuzo’s portrayal of human character is often too optimistic, her view of politics and society too charitable; but her ability to bring her characters to life, including the city of Lagos, perhaps the best-painted character of all, is impressive."[8]

Onuzo received a first-class bachelor's degree in history from King's College London (2012),[9][1] and went on to earn a master's degree in public policy from University College London.[3] As of 2017, she is studying for a PhD at King's College London.[10]


  • The Spider King's Daughter (Faber and Faber, 2012)
  • Welcome to Lagos (Faber and Faber, 2016)

Awards and recognitionEdit

The Spider King's Daughter won a Betty Trask Award (2013),[11] and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize[12] and the Commonwealth Book Prize.[13] In addition the novel was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize[14] and for the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2013.[15]

In April 2014 Onuzo was selected for the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature.[16]

In June 2018 Onuzo was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in its "40 Under 40" initiative.[17]


  1. ^ a b Barbara Kasumu (12 June 2013). "Author Chibundu Onuzo: 'Don't let anyone tell you that you're too young to contribute'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Chibundu Onuzo | Authors | Faber & Faber". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Chibundu Onuzo: The Spider King's Daughter". 30 October 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  4. ^ Chibundu Onuzo, "When I Was Fourteen", Bella Naija, 17 October 2016.
  5. ^ Chibundu Onuzo, "Young, Gifted and Valid", Huff Post UK, 1 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Chibundu Onuzo", Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 2017.
  7. ^ Emma Greensmith, "Books: The Spider King’s Daughter", Varsity, 24 February 2012.
  8. ^ Helon Habila, "Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo review – high hopes, big city", The Guardian, 18 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Chibundu Onuzo on The Spider King's Daughter - King's Alumni Community". 13 November 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  10. ^ Anita Sethi (1 January 2017). "Chibundu Onuzo: 'I love Lagos, but it is not a place you can romanticise'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  11. ^ Katie Allen, "Previous winners of the Betty Trask Prize and Awards", The Society of Authors.
  12. ^ "Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist announced", The Bookseller, 19 October 2012.
  13. ^ Ainehi Edoro, "Meet The African Writers In The Running For The Commonwealth Book Prize", Brittle Paper, 6 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Desmond Elliott Prize longlist announced", Foyles, 24 April 2012.
  15. ^ "The Inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature Longslist", Books Live, Sunday Times, 23 December 2013.
  16. ^ Margaret Busby, "Africa39: how we chose the writers for Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014", The Guardian, 10 April 2014.
  17. ^ Flood, Alison (28 June 2018). "Royal Society of Literature admits 40 new fellows to address historical biases". the Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2018.

External linksEdit