Chioma Okereke is a Nigeria-born poet, author, and short story writer. She started her career as a poet and performed across spoken word events internationally and domestically before turning her hand to prose. Her early work was published in Bum Rush, The Page and The Callaloo Literary Journal and was shortlisted for the Undiscovered Authors Competition in 2006, as well as for the Daily Telegraph's Write a Novel in a Year Competition 2007.
Her debut novel Bitter Leaf was published by Virago Press in June 2010 and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize - Africa Best First Book 2011. Her short story Trompette De La Mort received First Runner Up of the inaugural Costa Short Story Award in 2013, and her work was included in the Virago is 40 anthology.
Set in Makoko, Lagos, her upcoming novel, WATER BABY (Quercus, April 2024) shines a light on contemporary issues like climate change, while portraying the societal pressures on a young woman trying to escape the confines of her community.
Chioma set up Makoko Pearls to raise funds for the inhabitants of the informal settlement of Makoko, most of whom are living without access to basic social amenities. Get involved at makokopearls.org.
As a keen traveller, globetrotting has greatly influenced Chioma’s storytelling. Passionate about universal stories and challenging the stereotypes surrounding writers of African descent, she divides her time between the bustle of London, the hustle of Nigeria and the calm of rural France.
News and Events
Oct 19, 2023
The Bookseller Announcement is finally out!
Quercus signs Okereke's beautiful coming of age novel
Oct 16, 2023
Announcing WATER BABY - 11 April 2024
In Makoko, the floating slum off mainland Lagos, Nigeria, nineteen-year-old Baby yearns for an existence where she can escape the future her father has planned forher.
May 5, 2022
WRITE AND SHINE
Workshop considering water, creativity & springtime
Recent Blog Posts
Apr 21, 2022
Water Writing Workshop
Check out the Write & Shine Library
Jul 3, 2020
Are We There Yet?
Tired of stiff upper lipping the age old status quo, many professional people of colour in their fields took to communicating to gatekeepers how things, as they stand, are simply put unacceptable.
May 19, 2020
Things We Ate In The Lockdown: Day Thirty-Six
I woke up reliving parts of yesterday, which was highlighted by my first ever Zoom meeting during this shutdown (with old friends and family) and culminated with witnessing negative fuel prices as the oil industry was plunged into chaos by Covid-19.