Sefi Atta (born January 1964) is a prize-winning Nigerian author and playwright.[1] Her books have been translated into many languages, radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC, and her stage plays have been performed internationally. Awards she has received include the 2006 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa and the 2009 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.[2][3]

Sefi Atta
BornJanuary 1964 (age 55–56)
NationalityNigerian and American
EducationQueen's College, Lagos;
Millfield School;
Birmingham University
OccupationFiction writer, playwright
Notable work
Everything Good Will Come


Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in January 1964, to a family of five children. Her father Abdul-Aziz Atta was the Secretary to Federal Government and Head of the Civil Service until his death in 1972, and she was raised by her mother Iyabo Atta.

She attended Queen's College, Lagos, and Millfield School in England. In 1985, she graduated with a B.A. degree from Birmingham University. She qualified as a chartered accountant in England and as CPA in the United States, where she migrated in 1994.[4] She earned an MFA from Antioch University in 2001.[4]

She is married to Gboyega Ransome-Kuti, a medical doctor, and son of Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, and they have one daughter, Temi.[4]

Atta's Lagos-based production company Atta Girl supports Care to Read, a program she initiated to earn funds for legitimate charities through staged readings.

She currently divides her time between Nigeria, England and the United States.


Atta graduated from the creative writing program at Antioch University in Los Angeles. Her short stories have appeared in literary journals such as The Los Angeles Review, Mississippi Review and World Literature Today. Her articles on Lagos and Nigeria have appeared in publications such as Time (magazine) and Libération. Her books have been translated into several languages. Her first novel, Everything Good Will Come, won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.


  • 2005: Everything Good Will Come, Interlink Books, ISBN 978-1566565707

Short-story collections

Children's books

Play collections

Stage play premieres

  • 2005: The Engagement, MUSON Centre, Lagos
  • 2011: The Cost of Living, Lagos Heritage Festival, Terra Kulture, Lagos
  • 2012: An Ordinary Legacy, The MUSON Festival, MUSON Centre, Lagos
  • 2014: Last Stand, Terra Kulture, Lagos
  • 2018: Renovation, The Jos Festival of Theatre, Jos
  • 2019: The Death Road, The Jos Festival of Theatre

Radio plays

  • 2002: The Engagement, BBC Radio
  • 2004: Makinwa's Miracle, BBC Radio
  • 2007: A Free Day, BBC Radio


  • 2009: Leaving on Your Mind, quarter-finalist for the American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition
  • 2019: Valid, finalist for the WeScreenPlay Diverse Voices Lab

Selected awards and recognitionEdit

  • 2002: Macmillan Writers Prize For Africa, shortlist
  • 2002: BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize
  • 2002: Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest, 3rd Prize
  • 2003: Glimmer Train′s Very Short Fiction Award, finalist
  • 2004: BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize

Visiting Writer

Atta was on the jury for the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature,[5] and a judge for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.

A critical study of her works, Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition, edited by Professor Walter P. Collins, III, was published by Cambria Press in 2015.


  1. ^ Sefi Atta - Short bio - Q&A (panellist) - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 27 August 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Sefi Atta", Myriad Editions.
  3. ^ Janine, "New: Acclaimed NOMA Award Winner Sefi Atta’s Latest Novel, A Bit of Difference", Times Books LIVE, 22 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Atta, Sefi 1964–",
  5. ^ Jury & candidates for 2010 Neustadt Prize, announced March 2009.

External linksEdit