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Award-winning author, Irenosen Okojie, previews her work of creative non-fiction, ‘Three Wise Women’, on Lucy Writers.

Lucy Writers is thrilled to preview the latest creative non-fiction by award-winning author, Irenosen Okojie. Okojie, a British Nigerian writer based in East London, wrote ‘Three Wise Women’ for the upcoming anthology What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival (Unbound) edited by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska. ‘Three Wise Women’ is a stunning reflection on the emotional legacies handed down to us through our mothers and grandmothers in the wake of difficulty, anxiety and depression. Okojie draws on a near-death encounter as a child and the life-saving actions of her grandmother, to begin an exploration into later experiences of loss, struggle, hope and self-discovery. ‘Three Wise Women’ is included with equally candid and invaluable essays by the likes of Cathy Renzenbrink, Lily Bailey, Rory Bremner, Julian Baggini and many others. 

Of the anthology, editor and writer Elitsa Dermendzhiyska has said:

‘For this book I sought out the most original thinkers in the UK who were willing to reveal their deepest personal struggles on the page. They include acclaimed novelists, beloved comedians, ingenious artists, distinguished academics and trailblazing explorers who will take you on a journey to the darkest recesses of their minds and attempt to grapple with questions that haunt us all. Despite its heavy subject matter, however, this is a hopeful book.’

Okojie has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, ‘Grace Jones’, which is taken from her latest acclaimed collection Nudibranch (Dialogue Books). She has won a Betty Trask Award for her spectacular debut novel, Butterfly Fish (Jacaranda Books), and her 2016 short story collection, Speak Gigantular(Jacaranda Books), was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, the Saboteur Awards, the Shirley Jackson Award and the Jhalak Prize. She is currently writing her second novel and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

On the upcoming publication of ‘Three Wise Women’ and its preview on Lucy Writers, Okojie commented: 

"I'm thrilled to share ‘Three Wise Women’ with an audience, a deeply personal and reflective piece on the connection between women, familial legacies and the power within ourselves to transition, to make radical transformations when necessary. I'm delighted that the incredible Lucy Writers, an eclectic platform which showcases the richness and breadth of women's voices are publishing it. In the act of sharing, we create permission, space to embrace the full complexities of women's lives." 

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Lucy Writers said of the preview:

‘Irenosen is one of the best authors writing in the UK today. Her work is in a league of its own and is completely shaking up the current literary landscape. ‘Three Wise Women’ is a perfect example of this. In this stunningly evocative piece of creative non-fiction we see all the magic and surreal power of her short stories come to the fore in a sensitively written exploration of issues familiar to many women: loss, fear, doubt, anxiety and the fierce determination to live freely. For her to preview this exceptional work on Lucy Writers is testimony not only to her deep generosity and care, but her desire to touch and uplift others through her work. It is one of the highest honours to preview ‘Three Wise Women’ on Lucy Writers and one that I’m certain our readers will enjoy.’


Dr Isobel Maddison. Director of Studies for English at Lucy Cavendish College, responded with:

“We’re thrilled Irenosen has chosen Lucy Writers’ to launch this work: a tribute to the platform from a wonderful, award-winning author.”

‘Three Wise Women’ is available to read here on Lucy Writers. What Doesn’t Kill You: Fifteen Stories of Survival will be published by Unbound on 6th June 2020 and is available to pre-order on Foyles here.

About Lucy Writers

Lucy Writers is an inclusive online platform devoted to uplifting the critical and creative voices of women and non-binary writers. In collaboration with Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, Lucy Writers supports and promotes the work of writers all around the world, from inside and outside the college community. With a thriving Arts editorial, including reviews and features on the latest shows from Tate, Royal Academy, Sadler's Wells, the National Theatre, Barbican as well as smaller arts venues around the UK, Lucy Writers aims to forge a nurturing and inspiring online environment for the next generation of writers and journalists.