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Ayobami Adebayo, author of the novel Stay with Me, has been long-listed for the £30,000 Wellcome Book Prize, the organisers announced.

Stay with Me is the Nigerian author’s debut novel, which the New York Times described as a “stunning debut novel”.

The 30-year-old Adebayo is the only African author to have made the 12-title long-list for the British literary award.

The 2018 Wellcome Book Prize long-list celebrates the many ways in which literature can illuminate the breadth and depth of mankind’s relationship with health, medicine and illness.

The selected 12 books cover popular science, memoir, lyrical meditation and medical history.

The shortlist for the prize will be announced on Tuesday 20 March, with the winner revealed at an evening ceremony on Monday 30 April at Wellcome Collection.

Ayobami holds a BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and has worked as an editor for Saraba Magazine since 2009. She was one of the highly-praised authors at the 2009 Commonwealth short story competition.

Here is a review of the book by Wellcome Book Prize:

This Nigerian debut is the heart-breaking tale of what wanting a child can do to a person, a marriage and a family; a powerful and vivid story of what it means to love not wisely but too well.

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything – arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, appeals to God. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, ‘Stay With Me’ sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

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