13 Ways of Looking at a Writer: Atoke

Atoke is a lawyer, writer, retired foodie and FitFam adherent.

Atoke Taiwo

She worships at the altar of words and believes life is too short not to be kind to other people. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, she spent a part of her life travelling between Newcastle, Swansea, Houston and back. She now lives in Toronto, Canada with her MacBook Pro & her New Balance running shoes. Of course she exists to watch TV but doesn’t think that’s appropriate information for a professional bio. She recently published her first book, +234: An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian.

What’s your current favorite possession?

My laptop. Can I say two things? Okay, yes.

Second thing(s): my potted plants. I love them to death.

Most beautiful word in all the world?

It changes from time to time. Right now it’s “nuanced.”

Alter ego?

Hmmm… me, when I’ve had like six shots of vodka.

What’s for dinner?

Haleem and chicken biryani. I’m currently obsessed with Indian/Pakistani food.

What are you reading?

Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy

Who is your most recent writer crush?

Do I have to pick just one? Dammit! Okay, Roxane Gay. I might turn to mush if I ever meet her.

Song lyrics stuck in your head, go:

“Legbelegbe” by Mr. Real, ft. Idowest

You’re a new addition to the Crayola box. Congratulations! What is your new name?

I’d make it into an odd number! That just sounds like stress. Okay, but I have to pick, right? Orange.

What task(s) are you putting off?

Picking up my glasses from the optician.

If you were a city, you would be ___

Easy: Toronto!

What was the last gift you gave someone?


What were you like as a college or graduate student?

I was quiet; talked to strangers on the Internet and watched a hella TV.

Here’s your free ticket to any time or place. Where are you going?

Houston! Pieces of my heart are there right now. Plus it’s so much warmer than Toronto right now.



Uche Okonkwo is an MFA Fiction student at Virginia Tech. Her work has appeared in PloughsharesEllipsis, and Per Contra.


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