Atinuke - Author Picture

Atinuke - Author

As A Child - I was born in Ibadan, in south-west Nigeria. I remember it as a city of dusty red roads, of bungaloos buried under flowers, of botanical gardens. When I was five my father got a "a good job" in the capital city of Lagos. A city of polo clubs and swimming pools and slums. We went to live behind the high walls of a mansion in a quiet part of the city, and left our extended family behind. This is where my love affair with books and stories began, locked behind the great iron gates of the lonely house. Throughout my childhood I wanted firstly and desperately to be a Boy, then an Adventurer, and lastly, An Author. Two of these were impossible (I was told) and one was dangerous. Forget it. So I carried on reading instead. I read Enid Blyton books and it sounded fun. At 10 years old, after a campaign of cajoling and persuading, my parent agreed to send me to boarding school in England. And that was, effectively, the end of my childhood.

As an adult
As soon as I could, I gave up all subjects but storybooks and went off to study literature. I wrote 10,000 words one year to get over a lost love and got into Oxford instead. But the writing I had to do there was so dry that I left. I decided to go Adventuring instead. I lived and travelled in England and France, Morocco and Germany and Spain, sleeping like a nomad on beaches and mountainsides. I sang for my supper, painted portraits, weeded gardens, worked as an artist's model and lived in a round mud hut in the wild wet woods of Wales. One day, pregnant with my first son, I told a story to some bored children at a festival and that's when my proper job found me! I haven't stopped telling stories since.

As an artist
I got through the trials and tribulations of life by escaping into books and making up stories in my head. My journal stayed with me through all my adventures, crammed with poetry and reflections and questions. I told stories for a living (because I had been told it was impossible to be An Author - and I had believed them). Until one winter in Wales...too ill to get up and go out and tell stories. Too ill to go home to my father-land. I found myself in the circumstances in which I write best (alone and bored and empty) and I wrote about what I was missing... I wrote Anna Hibiscus.

Things you didn't know about Atinuke
My favourite chocolate is peppermint and vanilla flavour.
I love wearing Big Boots and stomping about the place.
My favourite place to live would be...right on the beach.
I was old before I met the love of my life (sometimes you have to wait a long time for your fairy tale dreams to come true).
I live in my dream house. A wooden house my husband built...which isn't finished yet!
I live on a mountain called Angel Mountain, my favourite place to be.
If I could have/do anything it would be to have a world that works together for the good of the whole planet.
I love to knit socks.
If in doubt...I go to bed, it's the best place to hole up.
I love to whirl like Rumi.

You can see Atinuke in this video, reading from The No. 1 Car Spotter:

Featured Books, with extracts, by Atinuke

Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!
Atinuke - illustrated by Lauren Tobia
Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus is double the fun for readers! Anna's mum has just given birth to twins and Anna is going to have to share her family with her baby brothers. She immediately starts thinking of them as...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 02/06/2016
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Splash! Anna Hibiscus
Atinuke - illustrated by Lauren Tobia
Celebrate the sea in this vibrant story of Anna Hibiscous and her love of playing in the laughing waves! All the rest of the family are busy on the beach. The boys are playing football, the men are talking,...
Lovereading Price: £9.59 - Saving £2.40 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers
Format: Hardback | Released 06/06/2013
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Anna Hibiscus' Song
Atinuke - illustrated by Lauren Tobia
This is a beautiful, vibrant story, with rich colours and words that sing right off the page and a wonderful celebration of great happiness! One day Anna Hibiscus wakes up feeling so happy that she thinks she might pop! She...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 02/08/2012
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The No. 1 Car Spotter
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Oluwalase Babatunde Benson is Number 1. He's the...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 7+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 06/09/2010
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Anna Hibiscus
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2008. Original and understated, this charming depiction of modern-day family life in west Africa is the debut from a fresh, new storytelling voice. Pacy and engaging Anna Hibiscus is perfect for the newly independent...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 7+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 01/10/2007
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