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Yemisi Aribisala: The First Black Woman To Win John Avery Awards

Nigerian writer and food memorist,  Yemisi Aribisala is the first black woman to win the prestigious John Avery award in it’s 39  years history.

She has been described as having a “fearless, witty, and unapologetic voice”, named one of seven bold and new international voices.

She won the award for her book, “Long Throat Memoirs: Soup, Sex and the Nigerian Taste buds” which is described as examining the complexities, the peculiarities, the meticulousness, and the tactility of Nigerian food.

The prestigious award dedicated to the achievement of food and drink writers was won by British chef, Jamie Oliver, last year.

She is renowned for her work in documenting Nigerian food as an entry point to thinking and understanding the culture and society. Her first book, Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex, and the Nigerian Taste Buds, won the John Avery Prize at the André Simon Book Awards 2016.

She currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her children.

Life and career

Aribisala attended the University of Wolverhampton, England, where she obtained a law degree in 1995. She subsequently earned a master’s in Legal Aspects of Maritime Affairs and International Transport from the University of Wales, Cardiff, in 1997.

She was the founding editor of the trailblazing Nigerian literary and culture magazine Farafina Magazine.

From 2009 to 2011, she was the food columnist at the now defunct, groundbreaking 234Next newspaper, where she first gained public attention, writing under the name “Yẹ́misí Ogbe”.

Yemisi Aribisala is a lover of good food. She has written about Nigerian food for over many years.

She regularly contributes to literary publications, including the Chimurenga Chronicle, the avant-garde culture newspaper.


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Written by MT


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