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Yorùbá Boy Running

Biyi Bandele author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:4th Jul '24

Should be back in stock very soon

Yorùbá Boy Running cover

'A true artist. A brilliant writer. An original thinker' Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Yorùbá Boy Running charts Samuel Ajayi Crowther's miraculous journey from slave to liberator, boy to man, running to resisting

'Run, Àjàyí, run!'

The day the Malian slave traders invaded the Nigerian town of Òsogùn, thirteen-year-old Àjàyí's life was split in two.

Before, there was his childhood, surrounded by friends and family, watched over by the ancient Yorùbá gods of forest and water, earth and sky. After: capture, slavery - and release, into the service of a new god, his own culture left far behind. So Àjàyí becomes Samuel Crowther - missionary, linguist, minister - and abolitionist: driven to negotiate against his own people to end the miserable trade in human beings which destroyed his family.

Drawing on the prolific writings of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Biyi Bándélé has created a many-voiced, kaleidoscopic portrait of an extraordinary man. From the heart-stopping drama of Àjàyí's last day of freedom to the farcical intrigue of the Òsogùn court; from a meeting with Queen Victoria; to his consecration as the first African Bishop of the Anglican Church, his journey, like all great odysseys, circles back to where he began. By turns witty, moving and quietly political, Biyi Bándélé's reimagining of Crowther's life is a brilliant tour de force.


‘Biyi Bándélé had a prolifically talented and creative mind, shown in everything he touched. Yorùbá Boy Running is no exception’ Chiwitel Ejiofor

A remarkable saga of perseverance, dedication and triumph over adversity . . . The wit and dramatic timing read like something by Wole Soyinka . . . We are lucky and grateful that the author was able to leave us with this bookend to his glorious if truncated career -- Helon Habila * Guardian *
Biyi was a unique, all-responsive talent . . . The more he achieved, the further he aimed -- Wole Soyinka
Biyi Bándélé had a prolifically talented and creative mind, shown in everything he touched. Yorùbá Boy Running is no exception
A magical, immersive journey . . . Bándélé effortlessly draws the picture of the birth of colonial Nigeria with such panache and vibrancy that you are entertained while being deeply enlightened . . . Bándélé allow us to both observe and care for the characters he brings us, from village elders and Muslim slave traders to English colonisers. Biyi Bándélé’s wise and lyrical voice will be sorely missed
Bándélé excels both himself in this richly crafted novel, brimming with mirth, fervour and his sheer joy of language . . . This is the novel as homage, truth-telling, illumination. I’m in awe, inspired. We have been gifted an almighty legacy -- Courttia Newland
Biyi Bándélé's remains a master storyteller to the end. A magnificent novel; rich, humorous, lyrical, breathtaking. What a joy -- Chikodili Emelumadu
In Yorùbá Boy Running, Bándélé writes with a nimble, rigorous prose. He has left us a matchless parting gift in this magnificent, unforgettable novel. And we, his readers, are grateful -- Chika Unigwe
One of Africa's important stories vividly brought to life in the hands of a master weaver of tales and true creative genius -- Sarah Brown
A masterful piece of writing that will prove Biyi as one of Africa's greatest writers. Lyrical, tragic and witty in turns. Chronicling one of humanities most shameful periods with unflinching honesty and deft storytelling -- Clint Dyer
This nimble, many-voiced tale never ceases to surprise as it soars and dips over the landscape of the Reverend Samuel Ajayi Crowther’s life, building to a sobering yet poignant conclusion. It was such a pleasure to read -- Umar Turaki
As important and as riveting as it is generous, raising Ajayi Crowther to a place beside Equiano Olaudah, Fredrick Douglas and Phyllis Wheatley
I always had huge respect for [Biyi's] prolific, super-talented and fearless creativity -- Bernardine Evaristo
Passionately committed to every venture, Biyi displayed great urgency in all his productivity. He was a beguiling mix of daring and reticence, self-confidence and humility, with bravely ambitious dreams -- Margaret Busby * Guardian *
[Biyi Bándélé's novels] are rewarding reading, capable of wild surrealism and wit, as well as political engagement, as is all his writing * Independent *
Biyi Bándélé was a titan, who did the heavy lifting and laid the foundations many British Nigerian writers & theatre makers walk on -- Inua Ellams
Bándélé, who is without doubt one of Africa's finest creative minds, built an extensive career across various creative spaces, achieving success in literature and film * Brittle Paper *

ISBN: 9780241562697

Dimensions: 242mm x 162mm x 26mm

Weight: 484g

288 pages