Top Quotes by Ayobami Adebayo

My mother has a lot of sisters. They had very, very interesting conversations. Because I was a quiet child, I would sit in the room and listen to these stories. I think I developed a curiosity about the life of other people from that, and an interest in looking at what was lying beneath the layer of what people present in public.

Ayobami Adebayo

I am interested in the idea that people should be able to define their own happiness.

Ayobami Adebayo

I wanted to write about extended family systems. You have people you can fall back on, and it’s good. But what if you don’t fit into what is expected of you?

Ayobami Adebayo

I wanted to explore expectations we have of people – what a woman should be, what a man should be. And if they don’t meet our own interpretation of who they should be because of their gender, their background, their ethnic group, we then come to conclusions about them that are not accurate.

Ayobami Adebayo

Wole Soyinka’s ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ is a play I go back to and I read often.

Ayobami Adebayo

I have always been very interested in the idea of loneliness and the presumption that romantic relationships are supposed to rid you of that.

Ayobami Adebayo

I think a large part of being human centers on the state of being alone, and we try to mitigate that in so many ways.

Ayobami Adebayo

I think, for women in particular, it’s kind of like you’re expected to get married, have a child, and then you get to be a person. But you don’t need someone else – be it a spouse or child – to complete or validate your existence. Being human is enough and should be enough, and I hope that we all come to a point where we can accept that.

Ayobami Adebayo

When I was in my late teens, a couple of friends passed away suddenly. This was quite distressing, but after a while, as tends to happen when one is once or twice removed from grief, I stopped thinking about them all the time.

Ayobami Adebayo

There’s a Yoruba proverb which roughly translates into, ‘What turns its face to one person has turned its back on the other.’ It’s always made me think about how deeply subjective our experience of the world can be.

Ayobami Adebayo

Stay with Me’ started out being very political, largely because I’m a little obsessed with politics.

Ayobami Adebayo

I come from a part of Nigeria where a lot of value is placed on implicit communication. The ‘well brought up’ child is the one who can pick up nonverbal cues from adults and interpret them correctly.

Ayobami Adebayo

I’d always been interested in Nigeria’s past.

Ayobami Adebayo

I’m still very interested in the things that happened in the ’80s and the ’70s because I think that they were very important years for Nigeria. In the ’80s, we were under a military dictatorship for quite a while, and I think that the way we engage with our country as citizens was shaped in many ways by the events that took place in that time.

Ayobami Adebayo

There is a strong view in Nigeria, as in many other cultures, that a marriage is not complete without children. I don’t agree; I’m wary of the idea that people have to have some particular functionality in order to be full members of society.

Ayobami Adebayo

I don’t suffer from SCD myself, but I do carry the gene. This means that if I married another person who carried the gene, there would be a danger our children would suffer from the disease.

Ayobami Adebayo

In 2010, I was working in a bank in Lagos. It was a crazy job with long working hours. I had to leave for the office by 5:30 A.M., and sometimes I wouldn’t be back until midnight.

Ayobami Adebayo

When I was a child, there were two Nigerian writers in every bookshop: Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka.

Ayobami Adebayo

I must have listened to at least 10 covers of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ – Jeff Buckley’s cover is usually my go-to song.

Ayobami Adebayo

Never lend people money you can’t afford to give them as a gift.

Ayobami Adebayo

I admire Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Strout, D. O. Fagunwa, Sefi Atta, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Colm Toibin and Junot Diaz. It’s a long list that keeps growing.

Ayobami Adebayo

I established my first writing routine when I was 13. The school year had just ended, and I’d won a stack of books for being the best student in a number of subjects. The pile included several 60-leaved notebooks that I decided to fill with short stories.

Ayobami Adebayo

I wander around online, but until I hit my daily word count, I only leave my desk to make some tea, eat, or to answer the door. At 7 P.M., I give up and spend the rest of the evening catching up with the news.

Ayobami Adebayo

When I had a full-time job, I would write dialogue and sketch characters on my commute and during meetings. Now, I forsake showers and regular meals and stay at my desk for hours, taking breaks to drink tea and eat something sweet, usually cake.

Ayobami Adebayo

Usually, by the time I hit ‘save’ before taking a nap, my word count has gone down, but the world I’m creating feels more tangible than it did before.

Ayobami Adebayo

There’s this idea that at the lowest rungs of the social ladder in an African family is a childless woman – and the lowest rung of all is a motherless child.

Ayobami Adebayo

Having children does become tied to a sense of identity and our value as humans.

Ayobami Adebayo

To be transported into another world is my very favourite part of reading.

Ayobami Adebayo

I used to think that most published writers, the ones I admired, had a muse, or a special connection to the universe, to nature, or to aliens – something inaccessible to me that caused their prose to flow onto the page, already perfect.

Ayobami Adebayo

When I started working on ‘Stay With Me,’ I thought it would take two years to complete the novel.

Ayobami Adebayo

I’m still startled when people ask me for writing advice.

Ayobami Adebayo

I think there is a dissonance between how much is expected of you as a young person, whether you are a man or a woman: you are supposed to go to university; you get a master’s degree, maybe two, particularly if you come from the middle class.

Ayobami Adebayo

My mother used to laugh that if they asked me to clean up my room, I would spend so much time reading every tiny bit of paper, a receipt or whatever, instead of throwing it in the trash.

Ayobami Adebayo