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Among the best of young British novelists, Helen Oyeyemi is an author with five novels to her name. She was born in Nigeria in 1984 and raised in London, England.
Oyeyemi studied Social and Political Sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, graduating in 2006. While at Cambridge, two of her plays, Juniper's Whitening and Victimese, were performed by fellow students to critical acclaim and subsequently published by Methuen.
She wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl (2005), while still at school studying for her A levels at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. In 2007, Bloomsbury published her second novel, The Opposite House (2007), inspired by Cuban mythology. Her third novel, White is for Witching, is described as having "roots in Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe," and was a 2009 Shirley Jackson Award finalist and the winner of the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award.
The magical Mr Fox (2011), Oyeyemi's fourth novel, uses a series of interconnected vignettes to capture the love triangle between the self-absorbed writer St. John Fox, his wife Daphne, and his imagined muse, Mary Foxe. In a New York Times review, Aimee Bender wrote, "Charm is a quality that overflows in this novel."
Oyeyemi's fifth novel, Boy, Snow, Bird (2014) is a retelling of Snow White, set in Massachusetts in the 1950s. It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Guardian called it "an intriguing, sinuously attractive book."
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (2016) is a collection of intertwined stories, all involving locks and keys, literal and metaphorical.
Oyeyemi lives in Prague. Over the years, she has bounced around between Paris, Toronto, London, Prague, Berlin, Budapest and Prague again. "I feel a need to choose a city, or have a feeling that it chooses me," she explains.