Helen Oyeyemi

British novelist and playwright

Helen Oyeyemi (December 10, 1984) is a British novelist and writer of short stories. She was born in Nigeria and raised in south London. She finished her first novel, The Icarus Girl at 18 and it was published to great acclaim while she was an undergraduate at Cambridge. She has lived in Prague since 2014.

Helen Oyeyemi


  • "I also love books of people learning to do this like going to ballet school, or how to ride horses. There's just something about the process and setback's it's very interesting."
    • [1] An interview with Kobo Conversation.
  • "The only way to try and interrogate or possibly persuade stories to reveal something about themselves is to make all these provocations and assaults on them, and try and unpack them and unpick their seams and see if they react."
    • [2] During an interview

From her booksEdit

  • "Please tell me a story about a girl who gets away." I would, even if I had to adapt one, even if I had to make one up just for her. "Gets away from what, though?" "From her fairy godmother. From the happy ending that isn't really happy at all. Please have her get out and run off of the page altogether, to somewhere secret where words like 'happy' and 'good' will never find her." "You don't want her to be happy and good?" "I'm not sure what's really meant by happy and good. I would like her to be free. Now. Please begin." White for Witching (2010) p 165
  • "Once you let people know anything about what you think, that's it, you're dead. Then they'll be jumping about in your mind, taking things out, holding them up to the light and killing them, yes, killing them, because thoughts are supposed to stay and grow in quiet, dark places, like butterflies in cocoons”. The Icarus girl (2005) p 82
  • "Her heart was heavy because it was open, and so things filled it, and so things rushed out of it, but still the heart kept beating, tough and frighteningly powerful and meaning to shrug off the rest of her and continue on its own”. Mr Fox (2011) p 171
  • "You don’t return people’s smiles—it’s perfectly clear to you that people can smile and smile and still be villains." Boy, Snow, Bird (2014) p 8

External linksEdit

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