Taiye Selasi

Photo by Nancy Crampton

Photo by Nancy Crampton

Taiye Selasi is what one might call a global citizen. Her mother was born in England, raised in Nigeria and currently lives in Ghana. Her father was born in Ghana (when it was still a British colony called the Gold Coast) and has lived in Saudi Arabia for more than 30 years. Selasi, herself, was born in London and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts along with her twin sister. In the past, when asked about her origins, Selasi would use humor to mask not knowing the proper response. She has since made peace with the feeling of not being “from” anywhere; she is decidedly a local in many places that feel like home. “My experience is where I’m from,” she said during her 2015 TED Talk. The 38-year-old writer, photographer and self-described explorer graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in American Studies and holds a Master’s in Philosophy in International Relations from Oxford University. Currently based in Rome and Berlin, Selasi has stretched out into just as many artforms as she has locations honoring her multi-local experience and community exploration in her work.

She has a best-selling debut novel, Ghana Must Go, which mirrors her own story as it follows a family who, after dismantling in tragedy, must use the fragments to reimagine itself in a new, still beautiful way. Her writings have been featured in the New York Times’ T Magazine, Evening Standard, and the LiP magazine, where she published the 2005 essay “Bye-Bye Babar: Or, What is an Afropolitan?,” the article that first thrust her name into cultural conversations. Her short story “The Sex Life of African Girls” was published by Granta before being chosen for their Best American Short Stories of 2012. She penned a play that was later produced in a small theater by Toni Morrison’s niece, Dr. Avery Willis. And in 2012 she completed a multimedia project called "2154," where she set out to photograph and film 20-somethings in all 54 African countries.

Currently, the ambitious creative spends her time headlining events and conferences as a keynote speaker while working on a second novel. And of course, she continues to chase global inspiration wherever she considers herself a local.

LiteratureTeneille Craig