AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: JUMOKE VERISSIMO

She is brilliant, warm and focused, and she writes poems that ask the really deep, important questions about African life and living. Jumoke is part of the new wave of African poets and writers sweeping across the African continent, and the world.

Jumoke Verissimo is a self-acclaimed Lagos girl but now lives in Ibadan with her family. She has admitted that her poetic influences grew from a childhood growing up in the church and classic African authors like Okigbo and Soyinka. A Bachelor’s Degree holder in English Literature from Lagos State University and a Masters Degree holder in African Studies from the University of Ibadan, she has a strong foundation in Literary Studies that shapes her narrative as a writer.

Her collection of poetry “I Am Memory” published in 2008 won critical acclaim for its gritty themes and won many prizes including the 2009 Carlos Idzia Ahmad first prize for a first book of literature and the Chinua Achebe Center Fellowship in 2012. Her sophomore poetry collection “The Birth of Illusion” published in 2015 is on the longlist for the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas price for Literature for the year 2017. Her poems have been translated into several languages including French and Italian.

She is remarkable not just because of her talent, but because of how she blends pan-africanism with global themes and draws a spotlight on contemporary issues of love, life and living in Nigeria. Her work is relatable and enjoyed by both older and younger generations of readers all over the world.