Nigerian-Italian illustrator, Diana Ejaita, is releasing her first children’s book with Penguin Random House. The picture book is titled Olu & Greta and is set to release this November.
Olu & Greta is inspired by Diana Ejaita’s own childhood experiences and reflections on her dual cultural heritage. Read the synopsis below:
Olu lives in Lagos, Nigeria; his cousin, Greta, lives in Milan, Italy. Though their lives may be different, their ways of living and playing are quite similar. They both roller skate; they both skip down the street; they both play with toy trains, trucks, and boats… and they both dream of meeting and being together.
Debut author-illustrator Diana Ejaita references her own childhood and heritage to create a rich, poignant, and authentic portrayal of Nigeria, of Italy, and of the unity of childhood.
In an interview with Afriquette, Ejaita shares that she was born near Milan, Italy, to an Italian mother and Nigerian father, but that “Lagos is my future home…Lagos makes me complete.” Expanding on how her West African heritage informs her creative work, Ejaita explains,
It is a form of self-empowerment and fulfillment of broken history due to migration and detachment from my father’s land for so many years. Sometimes I feel like I was born in exile. As a kid, I felt the injustice of being so far from my fatherland. I’ve been trying to fill that void by creating and researching. My work is done to give voice — to create a dialogue between two different cultures.
Diana Ejaita’s illustrations have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker Magazine, Vogue, The Economist, and covers for books by Lola Shoneyin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Kiese Laymon among others.
Ejaita is also a textile artist for her own fashion label, WearYourMask, which mixes African textiles with minimalistic design.
Congratulations to Diana Ejaita on her illustrator-author debut!
Click here to pre-order a copy of Olu & Greta.