-Tomi Adeyemi is YBTC personality for the week
YBTC News-Globally, Nigerians have grown to become an integral part of the society in which they reside, making waves in different fields of life to carve a niche for themselves as they continue to contribute positively to social and economic progressions.
This week’s personality of the week is a young Nigerian whose contributions to literature stands her out in the literary world, promoting history and enriching literature.
Tomi Adeyemi (born August 1, 1993) is a Nigerian-American novelist and creative writing coach. She is known for her book Children of Blood and Bone, the first in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, which won the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy and is a finalist for the 2019 Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.
Tomi Adeyemi was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Nigeria, and struggled financially when Adeyemi was a child. Her father was a physician in Nigeria but found employment as a taxi driver while he waited to transfer his qualifications. Adeyemi’s mother worked as a cleaning woman. Adeyemi grew up in Chicago, not being exposed to her Nigerian heritage, her parents decided not to teach her or her siblings their native tongue. She would later embrace her heritage as an adult, explaining, “I didn’t think too much of it and I think that is the kind of an experience of the first generation. You’re just trying to fit in. You don’t realize how cool your culture is until you get out of that phase of trying to fit in.”
Adeyemi graduated from Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Illinois in 2011. Tomi was qualified into the Hinsdale Central High School Foundation’s Young Scholar Program in 2008 and went on to win their “Young Scholars” scholarship in 2010-2011. During her senior year, Tomi also received the Rani Sharma scholarship. She went on to graduate from Harvard University with an honors degree in English Literature, then studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil, on a fellowship.
After Adeyemi moved to California, she worked at a Los Angeles film production company. When she decided to reduce her hours there to write a book, her parents, who had uprooted their lives in Nigeria to give her a better life, were not entirely accepting of this idea. Adeyemi says, “I’m first-generation Nigerian so I came out of my mother’s womb and I was supposed to be a doctor, a lawyer or engineer, and I was like ‘oh hey, I’m quitting my very well-paying job at a very stable company that has many future job opportunities for me’ … I’m so lucky that my parents were like, ‘obviously we’re not crazy about this but we love you’.”
Adeyemi’s first written novel did not yield positive feedback. She instead set herself a year to write another book that became Children of Blood and Bone, and she entered it into Pitch Wars, a competition program in which emerging writers are matched with editors and authors to revise their work before they submit it to a literary agent.
Adeyemi’s debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone, was released in March 2018, and debuted at number 1 on The New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Bestseller List. Children of Blood and Bone was awarded the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy and is a finalist for the 2019 Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.