Yewande Omotoso

Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados in 1980 and grew up in Nigeria with her Barbadian mother, Nigerian father and two older brothers. The family moved to South Africa in 1992.

Yewande trained as an architect at the University of Cape Town, to which she returned after working as an architect for several years, to complete a Masters degree in Creative Writing. The product of her degree is her debut novel Bomboy published in 2011 by Cape Town publisher Modjaji Books. Bomboy was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Literary Awards as well as the MNet Film Award, it won the South African Literary Award (SALA) for First Time Author Prize. Prior to Bomboy Yewande authored several stories, among them The Piano (2nd Place, People Opposing Women Abuse, 2005) and Maude Hastings (Honourable Mention, John La Rose Short Story Competition, 2007). In addition she has published Heroes with online crime fiction magazine Noir Nation and Two Old People in the anthology Speaking for the Generation: Contemporary Stories from Africa. Yewande’s poetry (Stranger and The Rain) has been published in the ‘Baobab Literary Journal’ 2009. The Rain was shortlisted for the Sol Plaatjie European Union Poetry Awards 2012.

Omotoso, for whom writing is a means to make sense of the world, is interested in the complexity of human experiences as well as the incongruities of life. Loneliness is a recurring theme. Omotoso views her writing as a tool for compassion and evoking self-examination. For her talent and the intent to tell stories, she credits her parents and a childhood steeped in reading and the sharing of ideas.