Nominated by:

City of Cape Town Library & Information Services, South Africa

Norfolk Library & Information Service, UK

Chicago Public Library, USA

Richmond Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Canongate Books, UK

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

Stay With Me

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀    

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.

About the author

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ ’s stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. She has been the recipient of a number of fellowships and residencies. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Stay With Me is her debut novel and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Wellcome Book Prize

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments:

A moving insight into Nigeria post Biafran War and the impact of the hereditary Sickle Cell disease. I laughed and cried along with the book and felt like I was in Nigeria, so evocative was the writing.

This brilliant debut centers around the marriage of a modern couple, Yejide and Akin, in 1980s Nigeria. Their enviable love story turns sour when family and societal pressures to have a child put an irreversible strain on the marriage. The heartbreaking prose coupled with surprising twists and compelling characters make for an emotionally powerful read.

Stay With Me is powerful and compelling story of plural marriage and the toll that secrets and the pressure to have children takes on a Nigerian family, set amidst the political upheaval in late 20th century Nigeria. Adebayo’s masterful debut reveals her talents as a storyteller.

Related Entries