Helen Oyeyemi

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Helen Oyeyemi
Born Helen Olajumoke Oyeyemi
December 1984 (age 30)
Occupation Novelist
Genre Fiction

Helen Olajumoke Oyeyemi (born 10 December 1984) is a British novelist.[1] In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list.[2]


Oyeyemi wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl, while still at school studying for her A levels[3] at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. While studying social and political sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, two of her plays, Juniper's Whitening and Victimese, were performed by fellow students to critical acclaim and subsequently published by Methuen.

In 2007 Bloomsbury published Oyeyemi's second novel, The Opposite House, which is inspired by Cuban mythology.[4][5] Her third novel, White is for Witching, described as having "roots in Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe" was published by Picador in May 2009. It was a 2009 Shirley Jackson Award finalist and won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award. A fourth novel, Mr Fox, was published by Picador in June 2011, and a fifth, Boy, Snow, Bird in 2014.[1]

In 2009 Oyeyemi was recognized as one of the women on Venus Zine’s "25 under 25" list. Oyeyemi was a judge on the Booktrust Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for 2015,[6] and is serving as a judge for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize.[7]

Oyeyemi is a lifelong Catholic who has done voluntary work for CAFOD in Kenya.[8]



  • The Icarus Girl (2005)
  • The Opposite House (2007)
  • White is for Witching (2009, French translation as Le Blanc va aux sorcières, 2011)
  • Mr Fox (2011)
  • Boy, Snow, Bird (2014)[1]


  • Juniper's Whitening (2004)[9]
  • Victimese (2005)


  1. ^ a b c Quinn, Annalisa (7 March 2014). "The Professionally Haunted Life Of Helen Oyeyemi". NPR. 
  2. ^ Granta.com
  3. ^ Jordan, Justine (11 June 2011). "Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi – review". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Oyeyemi's 'Opposite House'". NPR. 26 June 2007. 
  5. ^ D'Erasmo, Stacey (27 February 2014). "Helen Oyeyemi's 'Boy, Snow, Bird' turns a fairy tale inside out". The Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Irvine, Lindesay (May 27, 2015). "Jenny Erpenbeck Wins Independent Foreign Fiction Prize". The Guardian (The Guardian). Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Giller Prize expands its jury to five people ", The Globe and Mail, 14 Jan 2015.
  8. ^ Cafod.org.uk
  9. ^ Methuen

External links[edit]