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Helen Oyeyemi

Biography

Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi is the author of the story collection WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS, along with six novels --- including BOY, SNOW, BIRD, which was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She received a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award and a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists.

Helen Oyeyemi

Books by Helen Oyeyemi

by Helen Oyeyemi - Fiction

Perdita Lee and her mother, Harriet, might not be as normal as you think. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it's very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee's early youth. The world's truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet's charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval --- a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met. Decades later, when teenage Perdita sets out to find her mother's long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet's story.

by Helen Oyeyemi - Fiction, Short Stories

WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS is built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret --- Helen Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think,” a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).

by Helen Oyeyemi - Fiction, Historical Fiction

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. Elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s dark-skinned daughter, Bird, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white.