Chioma Okereke

Chioma Okereke was born in Benin City, Nigeria and moved to England at an early age.

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 which garnered some attention, and was shortlisted for the Undiscovered Authors Competition 2006 (run by Bookforce UK), 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 2013, and her work was also included in Virago is 40 – an anthology featuring forty extracts from forty writers to celebrate 40 years of Virago Press’s fiction.

Chioma’s latest novel, Water Baby is a coming-of-age story set in the real settlement of Makoko in Nigeria and will be published by Quercus in April 2024.

Chioma is a keen traveller, and globetrotting has greatly influenced her storytelling in terms of characters and plots. Having lived in several countries, she is passionate about universal stories and challenging the stereotypes surrounding writers of African descent and the stories they should tell.

She divides her time between the bustle of London, the hustle of Nigeria and the calm of rural France.