Diekara Oloruntoba-Oju is definitely not your average Nigerian 20-year-old. This interesting young lady recently launched her first book, a thought-provoking piece titled ‘When Lemons Grow on Orange Trees’ at the Goethe-Institut, Lagos and it has been garnering rave reviews.
Diekara Oloruntoba-Oju was born in Ilorin, Kwara State. She is an undergraduate student of foreign languages at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and currently doing her Equivalent Year Abroad Program (EYAP) at the Goethe-Institut Lagos.
At 16, many Nigerian girls are certainly not thinking of being hard at work furiously typing away on a computer churning out inspiring words in the form of a novel. Not at all. At 16, away from the allure of teenage tendencies, Diekara took it upon herself to begin and complete a task that most adults struggle with executing.
A young, Chimanda Adichie in the making, Miss Oloruntoba-Oju says she began her sojourn as a writer at the age of five (or four according to a correction made by her mother at her book reading) with a poem written about a dying bird.
Speaking on what prompted her foray into the world of literature, she said at her book launch, “When you are the daughter of two university academics, and you live in the quiet and sometimes boring environment of Ilorin you read”. She cites Sefi Atta, Igoni Barrett, Jumoke Verrissimo, Lola Shoneyin and Dami Ajayi as some of her literary influences.