Molara Wood

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Molara Wood (born 1967)[1] is a Nigerian creative writer, journalist and critic, who has been described as "as one of the eminent voices in the Arts in Nigeria".[2] Her short stories, flash fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including African Literature Today, Chimurenga, Farafina Magazine, Sentinel Poetry, DrumVoices Revue, Sable LitMag, Eclectica Magazine, The New Gong Book of New Nigerian Short Stories (ed. Adewale Maja-Pearce, 2007), and One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories (ed. Chris Brazier; New Internationalist, 2009).[2][1] She currently lives in Lagos.[3]


Born in Nigeria, Molara Wood has lived what she describes as "a fairly peripatetic life", encompassing two decades in Britain, where she had initially gone to study ("Three or four years max, was the plan. But life happens. You don’t see the years rolling into each other, then you wake up one day, and you’ve been in England 20 years").[4] In a 2015 interview with Oyebade Dosunmu for Aké Review, Wood elaborated: "Even long before my UK days I had lived in Northern and South-Western Nigeria as well as Los Angeles—all by the age of eleven or twelve. There’s a sense in which you’re always out of time, out of place—and the years in Britain merely compounded that. The feeling doesn’t go away with return to Nigeria, it merely mutates, as people remark about me coming across as someone from ‘away’, even when I’m trying to blend in. I am therefore pretty sensitive to the permutations of dislocation and re-integration, and London was a huge tableau for me to observe this theatre of human experience as far as Nigerian immigrants were concerned."[2]

In 2007 her fiction was highly commended in the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Short Story Competition, and in 2008 she won the inaugural John La Rose Memorial Short Story Competition.[5]

Since returning to Nigeria, she has been Arts and Culture Editor of Next newspaper (which ceased publication in 2011), and currently writes an Arts column for The Guardian in Lagos, where she is now based.[6][7] She is also a dedicated blogger.[8][3]

Her collection of short stories, Indigo, was published in 2013 by Parrésia Publishers.[9][10] Indigo was well received, with Critical Literature Review calling it "a reader's pleasure".[11] As Oyebade Dosunmu writes: "Wood tells stories of people who inhabit inbetween ‘indigo’ spaces: the borderland of immigration, the no-man’s-land of multiculturalism, the frontiers of social mobility. These worlds spiral into one another, and their inhabitants spin along, negotiating extremes of human circumstance—barrenness, the (fated) pursuit of glamour, madness, death—struggling, all the while, to plant roots in shifting sand."[2] Many of the stories deal with the lives of African women negotiating concerns such as barrenness, polygamy and widowhood, and Wood has said that "these are the writings of a womanist, a feminist. I have a great empathy, a well of feeling for what women go through. I don’t feel these are given adequate treatment in the writings of male writers, so it’s really up to us, the female writers, to privilege the voices and experiences of women."[2]

Wood was a judge for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature,[12] is on the Advisory Board of the Aké Arts and Book Festival and has been a participant in many literary events including the Lagos Book & Art Festival.[13]



  1. ^ a b "Reviews Editor", Editorial Board, Sentinel Poetry Quarterly.
  2. ^ a b c d e Oyebade Dosunmu, "Peripatetic Lives: An Interview with Molara Wood, Author of Indigo" (interview), Aké Review, 30 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b Wordsbody blog.
  4. ^ Miriam N. Kotzin, "Molara Wood, The Per Contra Interview", Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas.
  5. ^ "The John La Rose Memorial Short Story Competition", Wordsbody, 17 March 2008.
  6. ^ Molara Wood profile at The Guardian (Nigeria).
  7. ^ "56 Years of Nigerian Literature: Molara Wood", Bookshy, 3 October 2016.
  8. ^ Molara Wood: The Writings of a General Wordsbody blog.
  9. ^ Molara Wood at Parrésia Publishers.
  10. ^ Anote Ajeluorou, "Molara Wood kicks off CORA Book Trek 2016 with reading from Indigo, Route 234", The Guardian (Nigeria), 17 July 2016.
  11. ^ Joseph Omotayo, "Indigo by Molara Wood" (review), 31 December 2013.
  12. ^ Judges, Etisalat Prize for Literature.
  13. ^ "Molara Wood Reads from 'Indigo', Other Works, At Quintessence", CORA 2016 Events, 5 July 2016.

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