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Teju Cole

About The Author


Teju ColeTeju Cole is a writer, art historian and street photographer, and is currently the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College, New York. Born and raised in Nigeria, he now resides in New York, and is a consistent contributor to many publications, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, qarrtsiluni and Tin House.

Cole's first book, Every Day is for the Thief, was a novella with photographs. His novel Open City, written in 2011, centres on a young Nigerian graduate student studying psychiatry in New York City, and was nominated for the National Book Critics' Circle for Best Fiction, then won the 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction. His writing has been compared to that of Joseph O'Neill, Zadie Smith, J M Coetzee and W G Sebald.

Teju Cole was resident in the Room for London from 28 - 31 August 2012. You can listen to and download his London Address here. Below he shares his ten favourite books, ranging from Rabelais' carnivalesque Gargantua and Pantagruel to recent poetry by Alice Oswald and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.

 

Author Picks

Gargantua and Pantagruel
(Paperback)
Francois Rabelais; M. A. Screech
 
Written in the 16th century, before the novel form was domesticated, this book contains everything - bodily humor, philosophical digression, brutality, satire. While reading it, you’re convinced it’s the best thing ever written by anyone.
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£16.99
 
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£16.99
 
Dubliners
(Paperback)
James Joyce; Terence Brown
I know of no better example of English prose. I am always returning to it, perpetually astonished that it was written by a man in his early twenties.
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£7.99
 
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£7.99
 
A Writer's Diary
(Paperback)
Virginia Woolf; Lyndall Gordon
 
I value Woolf’s diaries as much for their pathos as for the insight they give into her modernist technique. Woolf’s life was as full of epiphanies as it was of sadness, and each page reads like an intimate note from a sensitive friend.
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£14.00
 
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Memoirs of Hadrian: And Reflections ...
(Paperback)
Marguerite Yourcenar; Paul Bailey;...
 
in this book the Emperor Hadrian comes fully to life as an intellectual, sensualist and wielder of authority. An unforgettable portrait of a mind at work.
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£9.99
 
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(Paperback)
Wole Soyinda
 
Soyinka’s 1975 play is as essential a work of theatrical tragedy as Oedipus Rex and Macbeth. It also shows how the “clash of civilizations” can be a lazy formulation: Yoruba culture had its own internal, and very interesting, tensions before and during the colonial encounter.
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Running in the Family
(Paperback)
Michael Ondaatje
 
A sparkling memoir of the author’s return to the Sri Lanka of his youth. With gorgeous prose, Ondaatje explores the impossibility of regaining the past, and the wistful satisfaction one can take in thus reinventing it. A book I keep rereading.
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Here is Where We Meet
(Paperback)
John Berger
 
because he’s known for his political engagement, it’s easy to forget that Berger is among the best prose stylists around. This tender book, about the author’s conversations with people he loved who are now dead, is my favourite by him and the first story, of meeting his long-dead mother in Portugal, is simply sublime.
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White Egrets
(Paperback)
Derek Walcott
 
A late masterpiece by one of the finest poets at work in the English language. The mode is elegy, but the freshness and verve of the vocabulary belies that mode at every turn. This book is full of life, and winning the Nobel has not dulled Walcott’s pen in the least.
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Available Titles By This Author

Open City
(Paperback)
Teju Cole
 
 
£8.99
 

Past Events for this Author

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