Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin recently turned 50 and marked the milestone with an epic celebration! Shoneyin, a prominent figure in the African literature scene, is at the helm of Ouida Books and Book Buzz Foundation, the powerhouse behind the Ake Festival, KABAFEST, and other key literary platforms in Nigeria.

Her birthday soiree was held at Ladejobi House, Ilishan Remo, on February 24, featuring a delightful mix of cocktails, local delicacies, poetry readings, and drum showcase. The event was made even more special with the appearance of the Egungun of Itunworu, culminating in a grand Owanbe party.

With five wardrobe changes, fashion was as much a highlight of the party as the festivities. We particularly loved the glittering blue outfit, the glassy lavendar dress, the maroon iro and buba, and the dark purple gown ensemble. Each piece captures Shoneyin’s style and unique flair.

The celebration was attended by Shoneyin’s close friends and family, as well as notable figures from the African cultural, publishing, and academic sectors. Among the attendees were Nigerian writer Wana Udobang, Dr. Wale Okediran, Prof. Niyi Osundare, Dr. Reuben Abati, and Kadaria Ahmed, along with the MD/CEO of Sterling Bank Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive of Sterling Financial Holdings Company Yemi Odubiyi, Jonny Baxter, Deputy British High Commissioner to Lagos, and many others. Colleagues from Ouida Books and the Book Buzz Foundation also showed their support.

Lola Shoneyin is the author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, three poetry collections, and children’s book Mayowa and the Masquerades. She is the leader behind Ake Festival and other key institutions in the African literary scene.

We wish her a very happy birthday and hope the next year brings joy and laughter! Check out the photos from Shoneyin’s birthday celebration below.

Moji Adeniran, Shoneyin’s best friend of 34 years

Abubakar Suleiman (MD/ CEO, Sterling Bank: Yemi Odubiyi, Chief Executive, Sterling Financial Holdings Company PLC

Jonny Baxter, Deputy British High Commissioner to Lagos
Ouida and Book Buzz Foundation.

Seun Adeleye
Dr Wale Okediran, Prof Niyi Osundare, Dr Reuben Abati
Yemisi Ipaye and Kadaria Ahmed

One of 7 Students of Olabisi Onabanjo University read from all three books of poems.

Moyosola Olowookure, poet

Emmanuel Faith, poet, booklover read a tribute poem.

Ouida and Book Buzz Foundation team, past and present