Yejide Kilanko

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Yejide Kilanko (born 1975) is a Nigerian Canadian fiction writer and social worker. She is known for addressing violence against women in her work. Her debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, was a Canadian fiction bestseller in 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Kilanko was born in 1975 in Ibadan, Nigeria, where her father worked as a university professor. She began writing poetry at a young age.[1][2][3] She studied political science at the University of Ibadan.[4]

Move to Canada and social work career[edit]

In 2000, Kilanko left Nigeria, marrying an American and immigrating to Laurel, Maryland, in the United States. She then moved in 2004 to Canada, where she now lives in Chatham-Kent, Ontario.[1][4][5]

In Canada, she studied social work at the University of Victoria and the University of Windsor.[2][4] She works as a therapist in children's mental health.[1][3]


Kilanko initially focused on poetry, later turning to fiction. She was prompted to write her first novel after struggling with vicarious trauma from hearing about the experiences of the children she works with as a mental health counselor.[6]

Her debut book, Daughters Who Walk This Path, was published in 2012. Set in her hometown of Ibadan, it deals with sexual assault and violence against women and children in Nigeria, told through the eyes of a child narrator.[1][7][8] It was described by reviewers as breaking boundaries on the taboo of discussing sexual violence, particularly in Nigeria.[6][9]

Daughters Who Walk This Path was a Canadian national fiction bestseller for several weeks.[10][11][12] It was featured on the Globe and Mail's list of 100 best books of 2012.[13] In 2014, the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recommended it for summer reading in the Guardian.[14]

Her novel was also shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2016, after it was released there by a Nigerian publisher.[15][16] The prize eventually went to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for his book Season of Crimson Blossoms.[17]

Her subsequent work of fiction, the novella Chasing Butterflies, was published in 2015 as a fundraiser for Worldreader.[10][18] It also discusses violence against women, focusing on domestic violence.[6][19]

In 2018, she published a children's book, There Is an Elephant in My Wardrobe, which is intended to help children with anxiety.[10][20]

Her manuscript for her subsequent novel, which "fictionalizes the stories of female Nigerian nurses living in the United States who were murdered by their much older husbands," was shortlisted for Canada's Guernica Prize for Literary Fiction in 2019 under the working title Moldable Women .[10][21] It was published in 2021 as A Good Name.[22][23]

Kilanko identifies as a feminist and describes her work as inherently feminist.[6] She says she is particularly influenced by African and African American women writers such as Buchi Emecheta, Chika Unigwe, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker.[24][18]

Selected works[edit]

  • Daughters Who Walk This Path (2012)
  • Chasing Butterflies (2015)
  • There Is an Elephant in My Wardrobe (2018)
  • A Good Name (2021)


  1. ^ a b c d "Newcomer Stories: Yejide Kilanko". Chatham-Kent. 2020-06-18. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  2. ^ a b Mbaye, Ndeye Sene (2013-04-22). "Daughters who walk the path by Yejide Kilanko". Afrobooks. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  3. ^ a b "Yejide Kilanko". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  4. ^ a b c "Yejide Kilanko". Ottawa International Writers Festival. 2012. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  5. ^ Carlucci, Paul (2012-09-10). "Africa: Review - Daughters Who Walk This Path". AllAfrica. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  6. ^ a b c d Mordi, Melissa (2019-06-03). "Yejide Kilanko: Shattering The Shackles Of Silence Through Writing". The Guardian Life. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  7. ^ Ullery, Sarah (2018-05-17). "10 Books by Nigerian Authors with Feminist Themes". Book Riot. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  8. ^ Kelly, Joanne (2012-04-28). "Setting helps tell dark story". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  9. ^ Martin, Diana (2012-05-03). "This is for all the silent daughters; NOVEL: Newly published work encourages the abused to seek help". Chatham Daily News.
  10. ^ a b c d "Yejide Kilanko signs contract for new book". The Daily Trust. 2019-10-26.
  11. ^ "BESTSELLERS". The Globe and Mail. 2012-05-05.
  12. ^ "BESTSELLERS". The Globe and Mail. 2012-06-23.
  13. ^ "The Globe 100". The Globe and Mail. 2012-11-24.
  14. ^ "Best holiday reads 2014 - top authors recommend their favourites". The Guardian. 2014-07-12. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  15. ^ "11 Authors Shortlisted for the Nigerian Prize for Literature 2016". AllAfrica. 2016-07-17.
  16. ^ Lasisi, Akeem (2016-07-15). "Women writers dominate shortlist of $100,000 literature prize". The Punch Newspaper. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  17. ^ Sam-Duru, Prisca (2016-10-13). "2016 Winner of $100,000 Nigeria prize for Literature emerges". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  18. ^ a b Ibrahim, Abubakar Adam (2016-01-30). "'Being a Writer Is a Huge Part of My Identity'". AllAfrica.
  19. ^ "BN Prose – Book Excerpt: Chasing Butterflies by Yejide Kilanko". BellaNaija. 2018-05-01. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  20. ^ Terfloth, Trevor (2010-02-25). "Author tackles issue of child anxiety; Guest book reading part of Black History Month programming". Chatham Daily News.
  21. ^ "Nigerian makes Guernica Prize 2019 shortlist". The Daily Trust. 2019-09-14.
  22. ^ "Yejide Kilanko On the Making of "A Good Name"". BellaNaija. 2022-04-25. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  23. ^ "65 Canadian works of fiction to watch for in fall 2021". CBC. 2021-08-12. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  24. ^ Fantoni, Beatrice (2012-10-27). "Chatham social worker's debut novel explores young women, abuse in Nigeria". Windsor Star. Retrieved 2020-11-14.