Sarah Ladipo Manyika

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Sarah Ladipo Manyika
OccupationNovelist, short-story writer, essayist, literary critic
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
EducationUniversity of Birmingham;
University of Bordeaux;
University of California, Berkeley
GenresNovels, essays, academic papers, book reviews, short stories
Notable worksIn Dependence (2008);
Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun (2016)
SpouseJames Manyika, m. 1994

Sarah Ladipo Manyika is a British-Nigerian writer of novels, short stories and essays and an active member of the literary community, particularly supporting and amplifying young writers and female voices. She is author of two well received novels, In Dependence (2009) and Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun (2016), as well as the non-fiction collection Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora (2022), and her writing has appeared in publications including Granta, Transition, Guernica, and OZY, and previously served as founding Books Editor of OZY.[3] Manyika's work also features in the 2019 anthology New Daughters of Africa.[4]

Early life[edit]

Sarah Manyika was born and raised in Nigeria.[1][2] She has also lived in Kenya, France, Zimbabwe, the United States, and Britain.[2] Her father is Nigerian and her mother is British.[5]


Manyika studied at the Universities of Birmingham (UK), Bordeaux (France), and California (Berkeley), receiving a Ph.D from the latter.[6]

Her writing includes published essays, academic papers, book reviews and short stories.


Manyika's short story "Mr Wonder" appeared in the 2008 collection Women Writing Zimbabwe.[7] Her first novel,[8] In Dependence, was originally published by Legend Press, London, in 2008,[9] and was chosen by the UK's largest bookstore chain as its featured book for Black History Month.[10] In 2009, In Dependence, was published by Cassava Republic,[11] a literary press based in Abuja, Nigeria (as well as, latterly, in the UK), with a stable of authors that includes Teju Cole and Helon Habila. Speaking of her decision to sign with an African publisher, Manyika has said: "I realized that by granting world rights to an African publisher I could, in a small way, attempt to address the imbalance of power in a world where the gatekeepers of literature, even for so-called African stories, remain firmly rooted in the west."[12] Toni Kan writes in The Lagos Review: "Sarah Manyika has written an impressive debut novel which will find a well deserved place in the pantheon of post-colonial literature."[13] In 2014, In Dependence was published by Weaver Press in Zimbabwe, where it is a set book for the Advanced-level English Literature examination.[14] In Dependence has also been introduced by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Nigeria for candidates sitting for the 2017 UTME.[15] She was a finalist for a 2021 Audie Award for her narration of the novel.[16]

Manyika's second novel, Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, on its publication in spring 2016 was endorsed by many other writers, including Bernardine Evaristo ("Manyika's story about an elderly Nigerian woman is quiet, sophisticated and it expands the canon of contemporary African literature into welcome new territory"), Aminatta Forna ("gorgeous and finely crafted...Sarah Manyika's novel shows ordinary people at their best. Uplifting!"), NoViolet Bulawayo ("Astute, sensual, funny, and moving"), Jamal Mahjoub ("Manyika writes with great verve and gentle wit, illuminating her characters with subtle insight"), Peter Orner ("A beautiful, important new novel, and one that will continue to echo in a reader's mind for a long time after"), E. C. Osondu ("unforgettable...a powerful meditation on loss, memory, exile and loneliness. The characters in this novel will stay with you"), and Brian Chikwava ("A wonderfully constructed novel, always surprising").[17][18] It has been translated into several languages.[6]

Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun was shortlisted in September 2016 for the Goldsmiths Prize (alongside books by Rachel Cusk, Deborah Levy, Eimear McBride, Mike McCormack and Anakana Schofield),[19][20] "the first African novel to be considered for this prize",[21] which was set up to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The novel was also shortlisted for the California Book Award in the fiction category (alongside works by such writers as Andrew Sean Greer, Percival Everett, and Viet Thanh Nguyen).[22] Of the genesis for Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun Manyika has said: "I've met many older women who have lived colourful lives, and yet when it comes to fiction I don't find many stories that mirror this, especially so when it comes to the lives of black women. When I cannot find stories that I'd like to read, I try writing them for myself."[23] The novel's title is an acknowledged line from a poem by Mary Ruefle called "Donkey On".[24]

Manyika is a contributor to the 2019 anthology New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent, edited by Margaret Busby, participating in associated events.[25][26]


Manyika's non-fiction writing includes personal essays, book reviews, and in-depth profiles. For example, her essay "Coming of Age in the Time of the Hoodie" tells of her worries raising her son in modern America.[27] She has written book reviews for The Guardian,[28] including on Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo,[29] and the New Statesman,[30] including on Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston.[31] Her profile subjects include a piece on Toni Morrison for The Washington Post[32] and Michelle Obama.[33] Reviewing Manyika's book, Olatoun Gabi-Williams wrote: "Her portraits of the chosen 12 are multi-media collages – richly hued stills in motion picture narratives. The guests tell their stories moving back and forth in time. Their stories are vivid: of dreams chased after; of full lives led – of purpose; of their struggles; disappointments and victories.

Interviews with some of those from whom she has drawn inspiration are the focus of Manyika's 2022 book Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora (Footnote Press), described as "a celebration of personal and collective stories, of histories, of people making a way where there seems to be no way, making a difference, making history."[34] With a Foreword by Bernardine Evaristo, it features activists, artists and intellectuals including Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, Michelle Obama, Cory Booker, Claudia Rankine, Henry Louis Gates Jr, Xoliswa Sithole, Anna Deavere Smith, Margaret Busby, Lord Michael Hastings and Evan Mawarire.[35] a review of the book for Brittle Paper stated: "All through the book, there is a powerful sense of history as these figures look back, take stock, reminisce about their lives and how they came to make the impact that they did. In the process of sharing their stories, they shed light on our moment."[36] Olatoun Gabi-Williams writes of Manyika's book: "Her portraits of the chosen 12 are multi-media collages – richly hued stills in motion picture narratives. The guests tell their stories moving back and forth in time. Their stories are vivid: of dreams chased after; of full lives led – of purpose; of their struggles; disappointments and victories. ... The 12 whom Manyika has assembled in Between Starshine and Clay have done a great deal more than begin the painstaking task of exposing and dismantling lies that endanger. In their own distinctive ways, each of them is leaving the world a far more hopeful place."[37]

Among those who have praised Between Starshine and Clay are David Olusoga ("Each encounter framed and presented with enormous literary skill and grace. ...a snap-shot of where the peoples of the Black diaspora stand, today in the early 21st Century, and how much has been overcome to get here"), Delroy Lindo ("This is a one-of-a-kind book, a necessary and important one"), Ato Quayson ("A lesson in magic from Manyika's writing"), NoViolet Bulawayo ("Sarah Ladipo Manyika brings an intimate, eclectic, and delightfully startling freshness in this remarkably curated celebration of the African Diaspora") and Dame Vivian Hunt ("an amazing collection that will inspire readers young and old").[35]

Between Starshine and Clay was selected by Brittle Paper literary magazine as one of the "100 Notable African Books of 2022".[38]

Literary community[edit]

Manyika works with a number of organizations that support and amplify young writers and female voices. She is President of the Hedgebrook Board of Directors[39] and on the Advisory Council of 826 Valencia.[40] She previously served on the Board of the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco and partnered with MoAD to host an interview series, Conversations across the Dispora, featuring conversations with authors, artists, philanthropists, and scholars.[41][42] She additionally hosted OZY's video series, Write,[43] and was the magazine's Books Editor.[44][3] She has also served as a judge for literary competitions, the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014,[45] the Goldsmiths Prize in 2020,[46] and the Aspen Words Literary Prize in 2021.[47]

Personal life[edit]

She and her husband James Manyika married in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1994.[10][24]

Honours and recognition[edit]

In December 2022, Manyika was listed by New African magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of the year,[48] as was her husband James Manyika.[49]



  • In Dependence (Legend Press, 2008; Cassava Republic Press, 2009)[50]
  • Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun (Cassava Republic Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-911-11504-5).[51]


Short stories[edit]

Book chapters[edit]

  • "Oyinbo" in Prolematizing Blackness (Routledge, 2003)

Selected essays[edit]

Research reports[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sarah Ladipo Manyika". Ohio State University Libraries. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "My Life, My Writings". P.M. News. Nigeria. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Sarah Ládípọ̀ Manyika biography at OZY.
  4. ^ "Photos from the London Launch of Margaret Busby’s New Daughters of Africa Anthology", Brittle Paper, 9 March 2019.
  5. ^ Okwara, Vanessa (3 August 2014). "My style is simple and chic - Sarah Ladipo Manyika". New Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "About Sarah Ladipo Manyika", Sarah Ladipo Manyika website.
  7. ^ Hoba, Lawrence (26 August 2008). "It's all women, passion and skill in Weaver Press's latest anthology". The Zimbabwean. Retrieved 15 February 2009. Via Weaver Press.
  8. ^ "Legend Press sign San Francisco-based author Sarah Ladipo Manyika". Free Press Release. 4 June 2008.
  9. ^ Nwankanam, Obi (15 February 2009). "Sarah Manyika's in dependence". Vanguard. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  10. ^ a b Adagha, Ovo. "The Sarah Ladipo Manyika Interview". African Writing (9). Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  11. ^ In Dependence page, Cassava Republic Press.
  12. ^ "Interview with Sarah Ladipo Manyika", The Writes of Woman, 2 November 2016.
  13. ^ Kan, Toni (7 March 2021). "#Blastfromthepast A review of Sarah Ladipo Manyika's 'In Dependence'". The Lagos Review. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  14. ^ Tapureta, Beaven (1 April 2015), "Sarah Manyika's debut novel thrills", The Herald (Zimbabwe).
  15. ^ "JAMB Introduces New Novel For 2017 UTME Candidates which the students enjoy since for the past few years they've been reading The Last Days At Forcados High School a novel that was also published by Cassava Republic press – 'In Dependence'", Nigeria Today, 14 March 2017.
  16. ^ Ibeh, Chukwuebuka. "Sarah Ladipo Mayinka is a Finalist for Prestigious Audio Book Award". Brittle Paper. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  17. ^ Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun at Amazon.
  18. ^ "Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s sophomore novel for April 1", James Murua's African Literature Blog, 14 March 2016.
  19. ^ "The full shortlist", The Goldsmiths Prize 2016, Goldsmiths, University of London.
  20. ^ Leszkiewicz, Anna (3 November 2016). "'Erotic dreams about a man half my age': Sarah Ladipo Manyika reveals the value of pleasure". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  21. ^ Edoro, Ainehi (10 October 2016). "Why it Matters that Sarah L. Manyika is on the Goldsmiths Prize Shortlist". Brittle Paper.
  22. ^ Ibrahim, Abubakar Adam (1 April 2018). "Sarah Manyika Shortlisted For California Book Award". Daily Trust.
  23. ^ Leszkiewicz, Anna (2 November 2016). "Sarah Ladipo Manyika: 'Breaking convention often takes courage and is seldom rewarded'". New Statesman.
  24. ^ a b Tapureta, Beaven (20 July 2016). "Manyika launches second book". Bulawayo24.
  25. ^ Gabi-Williams, Olatoun (21 April 2019), "After seminal anthology, Busby celebrates New Daughters of Africa", The Guardian (Nigeria).
  26. ^ Onyeakagbu, Adaobi (12 March 2019). "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Taiye Selasi among 200 female contributors for New Daughters of Africa Anthology". Pulse.
  27. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (23 June 2015). "Coming of Age in the Time of the Hoodie". Guernica.
  28. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (27 December 2019). "The God Child - An Ambitious Debut". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  29. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (23 March 2022). "Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo review – a Zimbabwean Animal Farm". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  30. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (9 May 2019). "Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other is a story for our times". The New Statesman. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  31. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (17 June 2020). "How Zora Neale Hurston rewrote the rule book". The New Statesman. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  32. ^ "Honoring Toni Morrison". The Washington Post. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  33. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (22 March 2019). "On Meeting Mrs Obama". Granta. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  34. ^ "Excerpt: Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora by Sarah Ladipo Manyika". Brittle Paper. 22 September 2022. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  35. ^ a b "Between Starshine and Clay". Footnote Press. 2022.
  36. ^ Ghosh, Kuhelika (16 January 2023). "Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, and Others Share Their Life's Story with Sarah Ladipo Manyika in Between Starshine and Clay". Brittle Paper. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  37. ^ Gabi-Williams, Olatoun (26 February 2023). "Between Starshine And Clay: Manyika's encounters with titans of modern history". The Guardian. Nigeria.
  38. ^ "100 Notable African Books of 2022". Brittle Paper. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  39. ^ "Hedgebrook Board of Directors". Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  40. ^ "826 Valencia Advisory Council". 826 Valencia. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  41. ^ "Sarah Ladipo Manyika Hosts Strive Masiyiwa on Conversations Across the Diaspora". Brittle Paper. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  42. ^ "Africa Talks: the global legacy of African women writers", LSE Festival: Shape the World, London School of Economics, 7 March 2020.
  43. ^ "Interview with Sarah Ladipo Manyika", Munyori Literary Journal, 8 September 2016.
  44. ^ "A Novelist’s Choose on This Year’s Nobel Prize for Literature | POV", Cisco Connections, 6 October 2017.
  45. ^ Abodunrin, Akintayo, "Quartet announced as judges for 2014 Etisalat Prize" Archived 14 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Nigerian Tribune, 20 July 2014.
  46. ^ "Sarah Ladipo Manyika is Goldsmiths Prize 2020 judge", James Murua's Literature Blog, 29 January 2020.
  47. ^ "2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize". Aspen Words. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  48. ^ "Sarah Ladipo Manyika Making a way out of no way", New African, December 2022/January 2023, p. 62.
  49. ^ "100 Most Influential Africans 2022 | Entrepreneur: James Manyika | Giving Google's AI a human face". New African. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  50. ^ In Dependence at Amazon.
  51. ^ Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun, Cassava Republic Press, 2016.
  52. ^ Between Starshine and Clay, Footnote Press, 2022.
  53. ^ " Between Starshine and Clay: Conversations from the African Diaspora". By Sarah Ladipo Manyika. Published by Footnote Press. Distributed by Simon & Schuster.
  54. ^ "New daughters of Africa : an international anthology of writing by women of African descent" at Brown University Library.
  55. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (23 June 2015), "Coming of Age in the Time of the Hoodie", Guernica.
  56. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo )28 March 2016), "Betting on Africa", Brittle Paper.
  57. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ládípọ̀, "For the Love of Older Characters in Good Books", OZY, 29 October 2017.
  58. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ládípọ̀, "Game of Tomes: The Struggle for Literary Prizes", OZY, 2 November 2017.
  59. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo, "On Meeting Toni Morrison", Transition, No. 124, Writing Black Canadas (2017), pp. 138–147. Indiana University Press/Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
  60. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo, "What James Baldwin Means To Me", Brittle Paper, 4 March 2019.
  61. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (22 March 2019). "On Meeting Mrs Obama". Granta 146: The Politics of Feeling. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  62. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo (19 October 2020). "On Meeting Margaret Busby". Granta.

External links[edit]