Tolu Ogunlesi

Tolu Ogunlesi works as features editor with NEXT, a daily newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria. He is the author of a collection of poetry, Listen to the Geckos Singing from a Balcony (Bewrite Books, 2004) and a novella, Conquest & Conviviality (Hodder Murray, 2008). In 2007 he was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize, in 2008 the Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer Fellowship, and in 2009 a Cadbury Visiting Fellowship by the University of Birmingham, England. He won the Arts and Culture Prize in the 2009 CNN Multichoice African Journalism Awards. His fiction and poetry have been published in The London Magazine, Wasafiri, Farafina, PEN Anthology of New Nigerian Writing, Stanford’s Black Arts Quarterly and World Literature Today, among others.

Tolu owns one digital camera, two lenses and plenty of hope for a successful career in photography. When he isn’t traveling, he is looking forward to traveling. The rest of the time he is to be found contemplating starting a novel. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Tolu's website is


January 27, 2010

No writer could possibly exist in isolation. Even if she succeeded in engineering a spatial isolation (think of the farthest reaches of outer space), psychic isolation from the rest of humanity would be impossible. At the very least a writer is also a citizen—with all the requisite responsibilities: paying tax, participating in local politics, and obeying the rules and regulations established by the state. She is a mélange of family ties, societal status, religious beliefs (or lack of them), biases, memories, romantic impulses, political affiliation and imaginative capacity.