Zaynab Alkali

Nigerian novelist

Zaynab Alkali was born into the Tura-Mazila family in the 1950s. She is a Nigerian novelist, short-story writer, and essayist. She is the first female novelist from Northern Nigeria. she attended Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin. Zaynab Alkali went on to obtain both her first and second degrees from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)/BUK, Zaria. At Bayero University Kano (BUK), she studied English to a doctorate level.


  • It is well to dream... as long as we live, we shall continue to dream. But it is also important to remember that like babies dreams are conceived but not all dreams are born alive. Some are aborted. Others are stillborn.[1]
  • Education opens doors and gives an individual option in life.
    • Zaynab Alkali in her book "The Descendants" page 13-14.[2]
  • I am saddened by the fact that most women, especially in my part of the country, are trained from childhood to regard themselves as intellectually weak and incapable of attaining the highest peak in intellectual development.
    • In an interview with Edozie Udeze of The Nation.[3]
  • When I read a book, I look out for the message the author is trying to pass across to the reader. Does the work contain wisdom? Have I learnt anything from it? I also look out for entertainment. Have I been sufficiently entertained?
    • Speaking in an interview with The Nation. [4]
  • If you want to be a good writer, write what you deeply feel you should write, not what you feel the audience will like.
    • Zaynab Alkali in an interview with Kabafest Office.[5]
  • The hope that somewhere, somehow, someone may have benefitted from my ideas makes me feel I have made my little contribution to humanity. In addition to that, the national and international recognition is simply great
    • Zaynab Alkali in an interview with Daily Trust. [6]
  • I would say that life demands that we do not give up, no matter how hard it looks. I have lived by the simple code contained in almost all religions, believe in God and do good works. (Remember God does not leave anybody behind).
    • Zaynab Alkali in an interview with Daily Trust. [7]
  • Hard work runs through my blood. It does not kill, but laziness does. If I were to write about myself I would have hundreds of titles, maybe a title for every page.
    • Zaynab Alkali in an interview with Daily Trust. [8]