Interviews

Chibundu Onuzo: ‘I enjoy reading something I’ve written.’

Chibundu Onuzo has been selected as one of the 10 Women’s Prize x Good Housekeeping Futures authors. A panel of industry experts have chosen 10 female authors aged 35 and under who are exciting, boundary-changing, and inspirational. In other words, the classics of tomorrow for today. Keep reading to find out what Chibundu is writing at the moment.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your most recent novel.  

Sankofa was inspired by my PhD research on the West African Student’s Union (WASU), a group based in Camden Town from 1925 to 1970. A lot of WASU members went on to become important political figures in West Africa. I was very interested in the period of their life when they were unknown students, tramping around London and dreaming big dreams. I also met people like my main character Anna, who had West African fathers that had come over to study in England and returned home, leaving behind pregnant girlfriends.  

Tell us about your journey to publication.  

I started my first novel when I was ten, so it was a long, arduous, journey to being published at twenty-one. In those eleven years I started and discarded many projects. I tried my hand at a short story collection. I played around with points of view and perspectives. Even though it didn’t feel that way at the time, I now realise that none of this writing was wasted. It was all practice for The Spider King’s Daughter, my first published novel.  

What motivates you as an author? 

The finished product motivates me. I like reading and enjoying something I’ve written.  

What do you think you’d be if you weren’t a writer? 

I am a singer. I’ve just released my first single Good Soil in 2020. But if I wasn’t a writer, perhaps I would have released my music sooner.  

WP X GH Futures is about celebrating the female voices of the future – what do you hope to have achieved as a writer in ten years’ time? 

I’m working on a trilogy of children’s books, so I want to have completed that. And I want to have completed a fourth novel for adults. And written for film and television. Either adapting my own novels or working on an original idea. I also want to have released an album. I want to do a lot basically.   

Don’t forget to vote for your favourite author here.

The Women's Prize Podcast


Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.