Helen Oyeyemi

Brenda Cooper (University of Cape Town); Revised By: Leila Kamali (Independent Scholar - Europe)
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Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984 and migrated to England with her parents at the age of four. She grew up in Lewisham, south London, wrote her first novel

The Icarus Girl

(2005) while in sixth form at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in Holland Park, and had it published at the age of 20 while an undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Oyeyemi has since published a volume of two plays, “Victimese” and “Juniper’s Whitening” (2006), and six further novels, including

The Opposite House


White is for Witching


Mr Fox


Boy, Snow, Bird



(2019), and


(2021). The short-story collection

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

appeared in 2016. Oyeyemi’s work, broadly speaking, explores phenomena of cultural and gendered…

4251 words

Citation: Cooper, Brenda, Leila Kamali. "Helen Oyeyemi". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2008; last revised 16 November 2023. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5883, accessed 16 July 2024.]

5883 Helen Oyeyemi 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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