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As part of our cross cultural dialogue between Abuja and Dublin, Emma Dabiri and Irenosen Okojie reflect on how their Nigerian heritage, both lived and imaginary, has influenced them as writers and shaped their literary voices.
Emma Dabiri’s Don’t Touch My Hair was an Irish Times bestseller and helped to spark nationwide conversations about race and hair in Ireland. Her subsequent work, What White People Can Do Next is a manifesto for race relations based on working towards common goals.
Irenosen Okojie’s short story collection Nudibranch, which won the Caine Prize for African Writing, beautifully interweaves the surreal and the mythical with the everyday. In the process, familiar landscapes are viewed through a kaleidoscopic lens, with the literature and rituals of West Africa as a guiding light.
The authors will discuss their writing and cross cultural connections with writer and critic Gabriel Gbadamosi.
Emma Dabiri is an Irish author, academic, and broadcaster. Her debut book, Don’t Touch My Hair, was first published in 2019. Emma was born in Dublin to an Irish mother and a Nigerian Yoruba father. After spending her early years in Atlanta, Georgia, her family returned to Dublin when Dabiri was five years of age. She studied African Studies at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, her academic career leading to broadcasting work. Emma is a frequent contributor to print and online media.
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian-born London-based writer. She studied Communications and Visual Culture at London Metropolitan University and has worked as a freelance writer, marketing assistant, and editorial assistant. She is a freelance Arts Project Manager and curator.Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, published by Jacaranda Books in 2015, won a Betty Trask Award.
‘An absolute blockbuster of clear thinking and new angles … Emma is once-in-a-generation clever’ – Caitlin Moran
‘Okojie is a dazzlingly wild, bold and imaginative writer who tells stories with captivating originality and intense drama’ – Bernardine Evaristo
Presented in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature with kind support by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.