Yewande Omotoso

“I am designing my life versus living by default.” It’s an apt statement coming from a former architect turned writer. At 33, Yewande Omotoso’s years of part-time writing and full-time commitment to honing her craft (she reads one to two books a week) is paying off, in recognition as much as in personal reward. Her debut novel, Bomboy, won the South African Literary Award for First Time Author and was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and her poem, The Rain, was shortlisted for the 2012 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award. It’s what you would expect from a serious writer, one who submitted her book for her Creative Writing master’s degree at the University of Cape Town in the same week as she took the manuscript to a publisher. She may have given up a career in favour of a vocation, but at least she’s designing her own future, one in which she writes novels that “entertain but also get people to think, reflect on themselves and reflect on prejudice”. — Cat Pritchard