Taiye Selasi (born November 2, 1979) is a writer and photographer. Of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin, she prefers to describe herself as being a local of New York, Rome, and Accra.
Taiye Selasi was born in London, England, and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, the elder of twin daughters in a family of physicians. Her given name means first twin in her mother’s native Yoruba.
Selasi’s twin sister, Dr. Yetsa Kehinde Tuakli, is a physiatrist in the US, and an alumna of the African Paralympics, in which she competed in the long jump for Ghana’s national team. Selasi’s mother, Dr. Juliette Tuakli, is a paediatrician in Ghana. Renowned for her advocacy of children’s rights, she sits on the board of United Way. Selasi’s father, Dr. Lade Wosornu, is a surgeon in Saudi Arabia. Considered one of Ghana’s foremost public intellectuals, he has published numerous volumes of poetry.
Selasi’s parents broke up when she was an infant. She met her biological father at the age of 12.
Selasi graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in American Studies from Yale, and earned her MPhil in International Relations from Nuffield College, Oxford.
In 2005 The LIP Magazine published “Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)”, Selasi’s seminal text on Afropolitans. The same year she penned a play, which was produced at a small theatre by Dr. Avery Willis, Toni Morrison’s niece.
In 2006 Morrison gave Selasi a one-year deadline; she wrote “The Sex Lives of African Girls” to meet it. The story, published by UK literary magazine Granta in 2011, appears in Best American Short Stories 2012.
In 2010 Ann Godoff at Penguin Press bought Selasi’s unfinished novel. Ghana Must Go was published in 2013 to much critical acclaim. Selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, it has been sold in 22 countries as of 2014.
In 2013 Selasi was selected as one of Granta′s 20 Best Young British Writers and in 2014 named to the Hay Festival’s Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers under the age of 40 “with the potential and talent to define trends in African literature.”
Selasi collaborates frequently with fellow artists. In 2012 she partnered with architect David Adjaye to create the Gwangju River Reading Room, an open-air library erected in 2013 as part of the Gwangju Biennale’s Folly II. With director Teddy Goitom, founder of Stocktown, Selasi is Executive Producer of Afripedia, a documentary series about urban African creatives. With producers Fernando Meirelles and Hank Levine (City of God), Selasi is developing Exodus, a feature documentary about global migration.