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Bayo Olayinka Ojikutu

Born: 1971 in Chicago
Pen Name: Bayo Ojikutu

Connection to Illinois: Born in Chicago, resided within the city limits for the balance of my life thus far (1971-81; 1997- ); yet I spent junior high-high school years in Glenwood (1981-88). While a college student, my family lived in Country Club Hills (1988-89; 1991-93; 1995-97). My own campus years were spent at the University of Urbana-Champaign in Champaign (1989-91; 1993-95).

Biography: As noted above, I am a product of Chicago and its south suburbs. My father is a Nigerian medical doctor who immigrated to the US during the late-1960's; my mother is a second generation product of the Great Migration (her grandmother & much of her maternal family came to Chicago in 1921 with my mother's mother, who was but a swaddling amidst the journey) of northbound Black-Americans. I have been writing fiction since I was 12 years-old. I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned my Bachelor's degree there in 1995. I then returned to my parents' basement in Country Club Hills, where I penned the draft of my first novel, 47th Street Black, over the first six months of postgraduate life. Crown/Three Rivers Press published 47th Street Black eight years later, followed by Free Burning in 2006. I have taught creative writing, literature and film, and in the liberal studies department at DePaul University (2003- ), along with novel workshops at the University of Chicago (2005) & with the University of Chicago's Graham School of Continuing Studies, (2007- ). My short prose work has appeared in various venues. In 2008-09, my short story, 'Yayi and Those Who Walk on Water' earned Special Mention designation (Fiction) from the national Pushcart Prize.

  • """47th Street Black"""
  • -- Washington Prize for Fiction
  • -- Great American Award """Free Burning"""
  • -- Outstanding Achievement in Literature-Fiction, Black Excellence Award

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

on WorldCat:

Selected Titles

47th Street Black :
ISBN: 0609808478 OCLC: 50339258

Three Rivers Press, New York : ©2003.

After stumbling upon the body of their Chicago neighborhood's black liaison to the mafia, JC and Mookie, two high school dropouts, exchange their dead-end existence for jobs with Salvie, the local mob boss.

Chicago noir /
ISBN: 1888451890 OCLC: 61265958

Akashic Books, New York : ©2005.

Free burning :
ISBN: 1400082897 OCLC: 67375049

Three Rivers Press, New York : ©2006.

When Tommie Simms loses his corporate job, he gets caught up in Chicago's treacherous underworld--the last fate anyone ever intended for him.