Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bayo Olayinka Ojikutu  

Pen Name: Bayo Ojikutu

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1971 in Chicago

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Illinois Connection

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).

Biographical and Professional Information

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

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes) If interest exists in my participation in readings/panel discussions/speaking engagement, the hosting entity may contact my agent, Katherine Boyle, at 650-234-9971, or reach me directly at (312) 343-6076. Although my work wrestles with matters most pertinent to urban/civic settings, I am surely excited to engage varied audiences. Colleges/Universities, Bookstores, Libraries, Arts Guilds, some Community Centers, & Cultural Organizations are most apt (& preferred) settings for the treatment of my work. Metro Chicago speaking/reading engagements $125-$1,000 Travel-related speaking engagements $350-$1,000+

Selected Titles At Your Library

47th Street Black :
ISBN: 0609808478. OCLC Number: 50339258

Three Rivers Press,. .

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 Number: 61265958

Akashic Books,. .

Free burning :
ISBN: 1400082897. OCLC Number: 67375049

Three Rivers Press,. .

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