Tomi Adeyemi

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Adeyemi in 2018

Tomi Adeyemi (August 1, 1993) is a Nigerian-American novelist and creative writing coach.


  • People say you’ve got to write honestly and that sounds great but also, what does that mean? I think part of that is knowing there are some things black people go through that are universal and those things are how the world shapes you…if you’re in a racist encounter, they’re not going to say, “Oh, you’re Jamaican, oh, you’re Nigerian; oh, you’re full African American; your ancestors were brought here on slave ships.” That’s not what other people see. In the outside world, we have a kind of universal experience but it also changes depending on whether you’ve grown up in predominantly white spaces or predominantly black spaces…
  • I saw the opportunity to show the beauty in the culture and show that these words sound magical. We’re so used to using Latin, but if J.K. Rowling saw magic in that, you can see magic in your own culture. And if you can see it, you can help other people to see it.
  • …I had a lot of different reasons for writing the book but at its core was the desire to write for black teenage girls growing up reading books they were absent from. That was my experience as a child. Children of Blood and Bone is a chance to address that. To say you are seen.

Interview (2019)[edit]

  • (Which writers — novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets — working today do you admire most?) For novelists, I’m a forever-fan of Sabaa Tahir. Her debut fantasy — “An Ember in the Ashes” — was the epic tale that inspired me to write “Children of Blood and Bone.” It moved me in ways a story hadn’t moved me before and gave me a chance to imagine a fantasy world with characters I’d never gotten to see before. For journalists, Shaun King. The work Shaun does for the black community is incredible. I respect his strength, tenacity and passion, and I admire him deeply for the commitment to getting our stories out.
  • When I read, I like to go somewhere else in my mind with stories that touch our real world without taking place in it.
  • (What makes for a good fantasy novel?) I think the most magical fantasies will always be the ones with a world you want to live in forever…I think great worlds are important because they allow readers to play in that world with their imagination long after the book is done, but a great world isn’t complete without a great protagonist.
  • (What moves you most in a work of literature?) Acts of love. Be it familial, friendly or romantic. A beautifully described, tender act of love destroys me…I’ve always loved sweeping romances and magical fantasies. I’ve loved headstrong, determined female protagonists and epic battles. I still like to read the same things. I think the difference now is that I get to read all the things I like with characters who look like me. My childhood stories didn’t give me that. Even in the stories I wrote myself, I was only writing white characters and biracial characters. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that erasure was painful and damaging to my sense of self. So getting to create and read stories that fight that erasure and build on my sense of self is the only significant change in my reading tastes.

External links[edit]

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