Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in January 1964, to a family of five children. Her father Abdul-Aziz Atta was the Secretary to Federal Government and Head of the Civil Service until his death in 1972, and she was raised by her mother Iyabo Atta.
She attended Queen's College, Lagos, and Millfield School in England. In 1985, she graduated from Birmingham University. She qualified as a chartered accountant in England and as CPA in the United States. She is married to Gboyega Ransome-Kuti, a medical doctor, and son of Olikoye Ransome-Kuti. They have one daughter.
Atta's Lagos-based production company Atta Girl supports Care to Read, a program she initiated to earn funds for legitimate charities through staged readings.
She currently divides her time between Nigeria, England and the United States.
Atta graduated from the creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her short stories have appeared in literary journals such as Los Angeles Review, Mississippi Review and World Literature Today. Her books have been translated to several languages.
- 2013 A Bit of Difference, Interlink Books, ISBN 978-1566568920
- 2010 Swallow, Interlink Books, ISBN 978-1566568333
- 2005 Everything Good Will Come, Interlink Books, ISBN 978-1566565707
- 2014 Last Stand, Terra Kulture, Lagos
- 2012 An Ordinary Legacy, The MUSON Festival, MUSON Centre, Lagos
- 2012 The Naming Ceremony, New World Nigeria, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London
- 2011 Hagel auf Zamfara, Theatre Krefeld, Germany
- 2011 The Cost of Living, Lagos Heritage Festival, Terra Kulture, Lagos
- 2005 The Engagement, MUSON Centre, Lagos
- 2013 The Wake, Smooth FM, Lagos
- 2007 A Free Day, BBC Radio
- 2004 Makinwa's Miracle, BBC Radio
- 2002 The Engagement, BBC Radio
- 2009 Leaving on Your Mind - quarter-finalist for the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest
Selected awards and recognition
- 2009 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa
- 2006 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa
- 2006 Caine Prize for African Writing, shortlist
- 2005 PEN International David TK Wong Prize, 1st Prize
- 2004 BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize
- 2003 Glimmer Train′s Very Short Fiction Award, finalist
- 2003 Red Hen Press Short Story Award, 1st prize
- 2002 Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest, 3rd Prize
- 2002 BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize
- 2002 Macmillan Writers Prize For Africa, shortlist
- 2010 Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon
- 2008 Northwestern University
- 2006 University of Southern Mississippi
A critical study of her works, Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition, edited by Professor Walter Collins, was published by Cambria Press in 2015.