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Since 2010, Chibundu Onuzo has captured the world’s consciousness for accomplishing feat after feat. At only age 19, while still an undergraduate student at King’s College London, she made headlines globally by signing a two novel deal with U.K. publishing heavy weight, Faber & Faber which has published books by 12 Nobel Laureates and 6 Man Booker prizewinners. By clinching the deal, she became the prestigious publisher’s youngest ever female author. CNN did an extensive profile on her inspiring achievements as its way of joining in celebrating Nigeria’s then 50th year of independence.
“I wrote the book in my last year at school,” Onuzo told CNN. “I’ve been writing since I was 10, but this was the first novel I finished, so it was very liberating to be able to write ‘The End.’”
According to CNN, Chibundu found an agent before she had even finished writing, and sealed the book deal on her first meeting with a publisher.
Chibundu started writing novels at age 10. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and attended Corona Gbagada and Atlantic Hall Secondary School. She thereafter attended St. Swithuns, a school in Winchester and after that attended King’s College, London.
She grew up reading English classics like Jane Eyre and David Copperfield but also African titles by Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Two years after signing her book deal with Faber and Faber, she recently published her book, “The Spider King’s Daughter.” The book has already started garnering critical acclaim including being longlisted for the the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut novelists alongside a Booker prize-nominated Oxford professor.
And yet another feather was added to her long list of achievements. In June this year, Chibundu was voted the UK’s No.1 Best Black student of 2012.
She was given the accolade by a panel of leading black Britons at a glittering ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on Thursday 7th June 2012, in front of an invited audience of MPs, senior business heads, family members, friends and press. The award was given by Rare Rising Stars. By winning the award, she also became the first woman to come out tops in the list of the U.K.’s Best Black Students.
Watch a brief video on her below.
Chibundu serves as an exemplary role model for Africans in the Diaspora. From a passion for writing, she has harnessed her talents and accomplished what many could have only craved. We can’t wait to see what more she will accomplish in the coming years!
The CP-Africa Diaspora Series with Rebtel is a series hosted by CP-Africa profiling successful Africans in the Diaspora who have succeeded in all spheres of life. The series will also feature topical issues facing Africans in the Diaspora and provide a platform for inspiration.
Know an African in the Diaspora worth celebrating? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your nomination!
Image source: Cappelland, Bella Naija
Check out other inspiring Diasporans such as 22 year old Nigerian Emmanuel Ohuabunwa who broke academic records and made history at Johns Hopkins University