Taiye Selasi

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Taiye Selasi
TaiyeSelasi P1030135.JPG
September 2013, Manfred Sause
Born Taiye Selasi
(1979-11-02) 2 November 1979 (age 35)
London, United Kingdom
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British-American
Ethnicity Nigerian, Ghanaian
Alma mater Yale University; Nuffield College, Oxford
Period 2005–present
Literary movement Realism, Drama

Taiye Selasi (born 2 November 1979) is a writer and photographer of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin.[1]

Early life[edit]

Taiye Selasi was born in London, England, and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, the elder of twin daughters in a family of physicians. Her given name means first twin in her mother's native Yoruba.[citation needed]

Selasi's twin sister, Dr. Yetsa Kehinde Tuakli, is a physiatrist in the US, and an alumna of the African Paralympics, in which she competed in the long jump for Ghana's national team.[2] Selasi's mother, Dr. Juliette Tuakli, is a paediatrician in Ghana.[3][4] Renowned for her advocacy of children's rights, she sits on the board of United Way. Selasi's father, Dr. Lade Wosornu, is a surgeon in Saudi Arabia.[5] Considered one of Ghana's foremost public intellectuals, he has published numerous volumes of poetry.[6][7]

Selasi's parents broke up when she was an infant. She met her biological father at the age of 12.[8]

Selasi graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in American Studies from Yale, and earned her MPhil in International Relations from Nuffield College, Oxford.[9]


In 2005 The LIP Magazine published "Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)",[10] Selasi's seminal text on Afropolitans. The same year she penned a play, which was produced at a small theatre by Dr. Avery Willis, Toni Morrison's niece.[11]

In 2006 Morrison gave Selasi a one-year deadline; she wrote "The Sex Lives of African Girls" to meet it. The story, published by UK literary magazine Granta in 2011, appears in Best American Short Stories 2012.[12]

In 2010 Ann Godoff at Penguin Press bought Selasi's unfinished novel. Ghana Must Go was published in 2013 to much critical acclaim.[13][14][15][16] Selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, it has been sold in 22 countries as of 2014.[17][18][19]

In 2013 Selasi was selected as one of Granta′s 20 Best Young British Writers[20] and in 2014 named to the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers under the age of 40 "with the potential and talent to define trends in African literature."

Selasi collaborates frequently with fellow artists. In 2012 she partnered with architect David Adjaye to create the Gwangju River Reading Room, an open-air library erected in 2013 as part of the Gwangju Biennale's Folly II.[21] With director Teddy Goitom, founder of Stocktown, Selasi is Executive Producer of Afripedia, a documentary series about urban African creatives.[22] With producers Fernando Meirelles and Hank Levine (City of God), Selasi is developing Exodus, a feature documentary about global migration.[23]



Short stories[edit]

  • "Aliens of Extraordinary Ability" (2014)
  • "Driver" (2013)
  • "The Sex Lives of African Girls" (2011)


  1. ^ http://www.isoldeb.com/pressImages/Afropolitan.pdf
  2. ^ Virginia Vitzthum, "The Fascinator: Taiye Selasi", Elle, 15 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Dr. Juliette Tuakli, Child and Reproductive Health, University of Ghana, Legon.The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health
  4. ^ "Juliette Tuakli". Jhsph.edu. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Prof. Lade Wosornu", University of Dammam.
  6. ^ "Lade Wosornu". Amazon.com. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Prof. Lade Wosornu Compiles His Articles into A Book". The Ghanaian Times. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Family matters: how novelist Taiye Selasi came to terms with her very modern family", London Evening Standard, 5 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Taiye Selasi", Ghana Rising, 25 February 2012.
  10. ^ Taiye Tuakli-Wosornu, "Bye-Bye, Babar", The LIP Magazine, 3 March 2005.
  11. ^ Stefanie Cohen, "Growing Up With a Panther Mom", The Wall Street Journal, 28 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Interview: Taiye Selasi", Granta, 10 June 2011
  13. ^ Diana Evans, "Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi – review", The Guardian, 3 April 2013.
  14. ^ Margaret Busby, "Ghana Must Go, By Taiye Selasi" (review), The Independent, 29 March 2013.
  15. ^ "A singular voice", The Economist, 16 March 2013.
  16. ^ Sam Sacks, "An Auspicious How-Do-You-Do", The Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2013.
  17. ^ Molly Fischer, "Penguin Press Buys First Novel with Salman and Toni’s Seal of Approval", New York Observer, 14 June 2010.
  18. ^ "The WSJ Best Fiction of 2013", The Wall Street Journal, 13 December 2013.
  19. ^ "Books of the year: Torrents of words", The Economist, 5 December 2013.
  20. ^ Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4, Spring 2013.
  21. ^ "david adjaye & taiye selasi: gwangju river reading room", designboom, 20 December 2013.
  22. ^ Afripedia.
  23. ^ Exodus Movie.

External links[edit]