Chioma Okereke was born in Nigeria and came to England at the age of seven. She started her writing career as a poet before turning her hand to fiction. Her writing has been published in Bum Rush The Page and The Callaloo Literary Journal. Additionally, her work has been shortlisted in the Undiscovered Authors Competition 2006, run by Bookforce UK, and in the Daily Telegraph's Write a Novel in a Year Competition 2007.
BITTER LEAF, published by Virago Press is her debut novel.
In BITTER LEAF, the lives of six characters intertwine in an idyllic village that is African in nature but never geographically placed. Set during a time of encroaching commercialisation, these colourful inhabitants of Mannobe try to get to grips with their changing situations, without losing themselves in the process.
Babylon, the gifted musician and local lothario captivated by the beautiful Jericho Lwembe newly-returned from the city...Jericho, struggling to settle back in at home after the life and relationship she left outside Mannobe...Mabel and M'elle Codón, twin sisters who run the village's most popular eatery and battle local politics alongside old age...Magdalena, Mabel's daughter, the latest casualty of Babylon's ephemeral brand of affection...and Allegory, the self-appointed visionary adopted decades earlier after fleeing his own home town...
BITTER LEAF shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize - Africa Best First Book