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.