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16 INTERESTING FACTS ON GHANA MUST GO AUTHOR, TAIYE SELASI

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“Like beggars, first-time novelists can't be choosers. We just aim to be readable.”

Taiye Selasi

  Born Taiye Wosornu (alongside her twin, Yetsa Tulaki-Wosornu) on November 2nd, 1979 to Nigerian (and part Scottish) pediatrician Dr. Juliette Tuakli and Ghanaian surgeon Dr. Lade Wosornu in London, England and raised in Boston, Massachusetts (U.S.). Ghana Must Go Taiye graduated with highest distinction with a BA in American Studies from Yale University (U.S.); and earned her MPhil in International Relations from Nuffield College, Oxford (U.K.) till 2005, when she decided to get back to her first love … writing. The same year The LIP Magazine published an essay titled - "Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)" by Taiye Selasi. After that, she wrote a play, which was produced at a small theatre by Avery Willis, who is Toni Morrison's (American literary icon and Novel Prize winner) niece. Ms. Willis invited Ms. Selasi to an Oxford dinner honouring her aunt, and Ms. Morrison eventually offered to read a manuscript by Ms. Selasi that was "The Sex Life of African Girls." As a writer and photographer of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin, Taiye made her fiction debut in UK literary magazine, Granta in 2011 - Granta 115: The F Word, with the short story, ‘The Sex Lives of African Girls’, and it was named as one Granta’s Best American Short Stories of 2012. In 2010, Ann Godoff at Penguin Press bought Taiye's unfinished novel - Ghana Must Go. In 2012 Selasi launched "2030 Six," a six-part documentary series about African millennials in Central, Sahel, North, South, East and West Africa. Ghana Must Go was published March 5th, 2013 and it has been sold in 16 countries ever since. In 2013 she was selected as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Writers. taiye DID YOU KNOW THAT … 1.      Taiye’s mother, Dr. Juliette Tuakli, is widely known in West Africa for her advocacy of children's rights; while her biological father, Dr. Lade Wosornu, is also a public intellectual, who has published numerous volumes of poetry, one included in the literature curriculum of Ghana. 2.      Taiye's parents split when she was an infant, and her mother remarried an American, whose last name was Williams, and the twins took on his name – Williams. Her mother and Williams divorced in 1981, when she was eight. 3.       Taiye took on the name 'Selasi', as suggested by her father, when she was about to publish Ghana Must Go. It means "God has heard" and "answered prayer" in her father's native Ewe. She says – “the first time in my life my parents agreed on something.4.      Taiye started writing fiction only in 2007. 5.      She majored in international relations at Oxford, just after 9/11, because she says, “I wanted to know why people were flying planes into buildings. My dad lived in Saudi Arabia, and I hated to see that part of the world demonized.6.      She has worked at a hedge fund, “sold soap and snacks” for Procter & Gamble. 7.      She’s written two screenplays, which are currently in development, and produced TV shows. 8.      Taiye (alongside Kehinde a.k.a Yetsa Tulaki-Wosornu) didn’t meet her father till she was 12, at which point her last name suddenly changed to his, Wosornu. And when she was 18, she decided that neither name had been fair to her mother, so she became Taiye Tuakli-Wosornu. 9.      Her sister, Yetsa, also went to Yale; now she is a sports-medicine doctor as well as a long jumper on Ghana’s national team. 10.  While at a yoga retreat in Sweden, in the shower, Taiye was inspired to write “Ghana Must Go”, as all the characters, their stories, the three-part structure all appeared to her. 11.  World renowned British/Indian novelist, Salman Rushdie, is a mentor, whom she met during her travels. 12.  She coined the term “Afropolitan”, a combination of the words African and cosmopolitan, to refer to the generation of moneyed young Africans who jet-set around the world, are highly educated and know their parents’ home countries as well as the places they were born. 13.  She and her twin were born premature and might not have survived, if not for her mother’s expertise. 14.  After her 100 page manuscript of “Ghana Must Go” received an undisclosed offer by Ann Godoff of Penguin Press, the figure was enough to give Ms. Selasi writer's block for the next six months. 15.  Ghana Must Go was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. 16.  Taiye wrote “Ghana Must Go” in Nigeria, Ghana, India and Rome. Taiye Selasi, in 2013, married the Dutch cinematographer David Claessen. The couple live in Rome.       By: Olusola Agbaje

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