Written by Oluwabukunmi Akinshipe | Cover Photo via Instagram

Born on a Tuesday, or rather a Thursday, accomplished writer and author, Elnathan John had the inspiration to write his first novel from a perspective which was uncommon with contemporary literature as it hardly involved Northern Nigeria, his hometown, outside of its terrorism-ridden portrayal. 

His intention with “Born on a Tuesday”, which was published in 2015, shortlisted for the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature and later won a Betty Trask Award, was to show the reality of a Muslim man navigating life in Northern Nigeria with, but also outside of its stereotypes.

In an interview session with Nigerian Television Authority in 2015, Elnathan shared how his dissatisfaction with the Nigerian legal system drove him into full-time writing. 

He acknowledged that one of the foundational skills necessary for a serious writer is to begin to take their craft seriously, and to do that, is to start with the quality of what they read. 

He believes a writer is no greater than what they read, and that what they consume heavily influences their literary production.

Nigeria is a very intense country and it gives you so much material that can either frustrate you or act as an inspiration for your writing as has been the case with Elnathan’s satirical style of writing which was heavily reflected in his second production ‘Be (com)ing Nigerian: A guide’ (2019).

He writes political satire for the Sunday Trust newspaper and his blog for which he claims he hopes to someday get arrested and famous for. 

A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University and the Nigerian Law School, Elnathan John is a Nigerian lawyer, journalist, writer, satirist, and novelist. His short stories have twice been shortlisted for the reputable Caine Prize for African Writing, first in 2013, and then in 2015. 

Elnathan John is a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015) and one of the judges of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

His latest work of a graphic nature, “On Ajayi Crowther Street” was published in 2019. A fan of rock music, he often finds reading as a form of relaxation.

He currently lives in Berlin, Germany where he dissects and speaks regularly on Nigerian literature, media and politics. 

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