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SEYI GESINDE writes about the rare achievement of Chibundu Onuzo, a 21-year-old young Nigerian, who was recently named United Kingdom’s Best Black Student of 2012.
Nigeria’s internal crises may be denting the country’s image abroad, yet, young Nigerians outside the country keep doing the country proud. Another Nigerian whose achievement is still being celebrated globally for a record performance in the academic world is Chibundu Onuzo.
Last month, she was voted the United Kingdom’s number one Best Black Student of 2012, by Rare Rising Stars. This award made Chibundu the first woman to top the list.
Before now, Chibundu, in 2010 became the cynosure of all eyes when at 19 she made headlines globally as an undergraduate student at King’s College, London, after signing a two novel deal with United Kingdom’s publishing company, Faber & Faber which has published books by 12 Nobel Laureates and six Man Booker prize-winners.
For being signed on the publishing company’s label, Chibundu became the youngest female author to seal a deal with the prestigious UK publisher.
Commenting on why she decided to write a book on the Cable Network News (CNN), Chibundu said: “I wrote the book in my last year at school. I’ve been writing since I was 10, but this was the first novel I finished, so it was very liberating to be able to write ‘The End.’”
Chibundu, who grew up in Lagos, attended Corona, Gbagada and Atlantic Hall Secondary Schools, after which she travelled abroad to attend St. Swithuns school in Winchester and later attended King’s College, London. She said she grew up reading English classics like: Jane Eyre and David Copperfield, while also taking interest in African literature, especially those written by Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
According to Rising Star, “Chibundu Onuzo started writing novels and short stories at the age of 10 and less than a decade later, she became the youngest woman ever to be signed to Faber & Faber, which has published books by 12 Nobel Laureates and 6 Man Booker prize-winners.
“Her debut novel, “The Spider King’s Daughter” is part of a two-book deal with the publishing powerhouse and charts the unlikely relationship that develops between a poor street hawker and a sheltered rich girl who meet on a street in Lagos.”
“I love telling stories. It’s really that simple,” Rising Star quoted Chibundu to have said.
The award-giving body said since the release of Chibundu’s book in March, “The book has garnered a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and a 4 star review from The Metro.
“It has even earned her a place alongside a Booker prize-nominated Oxford professor on a long list for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut novelists.
“Chibundu has given readings at the South Bank, The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival and Cambridge Wordfest and recent media appearances include BBC Radio 3’s “The Verb” and BBC Scotland’s “The Book Cafe.”
“The Guardian UK, The Times and The Financial Times are just a handful of other publications which have praised Chibundu’s fledgling literary talent.
“21-year-old Chibundu has also been profiled by CNN and The Observer recently named her as one of the Authors To Watch Out For In 2012,” Rising Star stated.
“I don’t see success as a personal achievement because it is not like I woke up and educated myself,” Rising Star quoted Chibundu to have said.Share