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Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions

Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi

April 18, 2023

Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi’s novel Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions: A Novel in Interlocking Stories (Amistad 2022), is a moving and unforgettable collection of stories that span a lifetime. Four young girls rebel against a boarding school principal and the aftermath stays with them throughout their lives in this complex weaving of relationships and customs. Stories about immigration, powerful mothers and strong-willed daughters lead into stories about raising boys, searching for home, and seeking happiness. Ogunyemi references Nigerian history and traditions prior to the changes enforced by the missionaries, and considers a dystopian future, but the friends continue to love and count on each other across the years and the miles.

Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. A finalist for the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Award, her stories have been published in New Writing from Africa 2009 (a collection of PEN/Studzinski Award finalists’ stories), Ploughshares, and mentioned in The Best American Short Stories 2018. Her poetry has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, the Indiana Review and Wasafiri. She graduated from Barnard and UPenn with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in computer science. Omolola is a Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles, where she teaches and conducts research on using biomedical informatics to reduce health disparities. Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions, her first book, was selected as a New York Times Editors Choice (October 20, 2022), made The New Yorker's list of "Best Books of 2022 So Far," was a Los Angeles Public Library pick for "Best of 2022: Fiction," and was the October 2022 selection for Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club with Literati. Omolola lives in California with her husband and loves to try out new restaurants, especially fusion cuisine.

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