A few days ago, book lovers gathered at London’s Southbank Center for the launch of Chibundu Onuzo’s second novel, Welcome to Lagos. The photos are finally here, and we are delighted to share them with you.
A little bit of background to prepare you for the photos you are about to see. Onuzo has always been a tough one to pin down. She is a novelist. She’s pursuing a doctorate at Cambridge. She writes illuminating thinkpieces for The Guardian. She is a vocalist and performing artist. She loves fashion and keeps an Instagram page where she shares tidbits of her life as a writer-artist. She is a multi-faceted author who connects with fans in so many different ways.
It is hard to convey the grace, beauty, and intellectual acuity that Onuzo brings to her work and her life as writer. Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah nailed it earlier today when, after seeing Onuzo’s performance of a Nigerian gospel song, said on Twitter:
So when news came out about the official launch party of her second novel, everyone wanted to be there.
The event turned out to be amazing. Onuzo looked stunning in an Elizabeth Divine print dress, finished off with her signature afro hairdo and bright lipstick.
The hall was packed tight. All the seats were taken. Latecomers had to stand. A live band entertained the crowd. There was also live poetry. But Onuzo wasn’t content to simply be the author of honor at the event. In a surprise musical performance, she put on her musician’s hat and serenaded the crowd in a performance that some are saying “took everybody present straight back to the streets of Lagos.”
The live interview with Onuzo was done by Africa’s publishing royalty, Ellah Allfrey OBE. In the course of the conversation, Onuzo talked about “her inspiration for the novel, her faith, her experiences living in England and much more.”
The novel flew out the shelf. By the end of the night, it was completely sold out.
We couldn’t agree more with Sarah Savitt, Deputy Publisher at Virago, who tweeted from the event, ‘This might be the best launch ever!’
Here are some of the photographs. Enjoy!
Faber and Faber
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