My story begins in Enugu, Nigeria with Winnie the Pooh and a companion journal to The House at Pooh Corner.
I must have been about 4 years old, still learning to read and write. Pooh was my imaginary friend. I would scribble inside this journal and seeing my words alongside those familiar illustrations filled me with a sense of wonder. That might have been my first inkling that I wanted to write.
At age 7, I wrote my first picture book. It was more than loosely inspired by The Garden Gang, a series by an English girl not much older than me. My book was also about a family of fruits and vegetables.
At 10, I wrote The House Around the Corner, about an English family. Of course, they were all White. By then, I was at an English school surrounded by all White literature. It hadn’t occurred to me to write a story that centred people who look like me. Then I read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and my cage flew wide open.
I wanted to write stories that felt authentic and that resonated with my own experiences. Thanks to Black female writers, I was free to write in my own voice, not some affectation of Charlotte Bronte or Daphne du Maurier. Thanks to Maya, I learned that you could write fiction or non-fiction and make it poetry.
I’ve been telling stories about my communities and in my voice ever since.
From personal essays to poetry, journalism to narrative non-fiction, celebrity interviews to blogging, short stories to novel manuscripts, screenwriting to children’s books, writing has been my life’s work.
I am a writer, speaker, mentor and creative consultant. Primarily, I am a storyteller. My work is to connect the dots between the world we know and the world(s) we can imagine.
Uju Asika is a multi-award nominated blogger, screenwriter and creative consultant. She is the founder of Babes About Town, ranked as one of the Top 10 London Lifestyle Blogs and Top 10 UK Mum Blogs (Vuelio 2023). Uju is the author of Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World, published by Yellow Kite (Hachette UK) and Sourcebooks in North America.
Featured in Good Housekeeping, The Observer, Marie Claire, BBC Good Morning Sunday and BBC Woman’s Hour among numerous outlets, Bringing Up Race earned a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly and was hailed as ‘timely and important’ by the Evening Standard, who named it one of the Best Books of September 2020.
Uju is also the author of the children’s picture book A World for Me and You (Where Everyone is Welcome), illustrated by Jennie Poh and published by Hachette Children’s Group in May 2022.
Her latest book Raising Boys Who Do Better was published on June 1, 2023 by DK (Penguin Random House).
A former journalist, Uju’s work has featured in The Guardian, Salon.com, Time Out and the Daily Times Nigeria. Her poetry is published in select literary anthologies including the landmark collection IC3: The Penguin Anthology of New Black Writing in Britain (reissued in 2021). Uju has also been a screenwriter and script editor for some of Africa’s spiciest TV dramas, such as the long-running Nigerian soap Tinsel (broadcast across 47 countries).
Uju delivers regular talks on race, culture, intersectionality and the creative journey to schools, parent networks and corporations including the UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance, the LEGO Group, Grazia magazine, Dentons, and the NASA Johnson Space Centre. She is an alumna mentor for NYC non-profit Girls Write Now. In 2022, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) invited Uju to be a Camp NaNoWriMo counsellor and a member of the NaNoWriMo advisory board.
Today, Uju mentors writers through Black Girl Writers. She is set to launch the UJU Writers Space, a creative studio and consultancy for developing writers.
Born in Nigeria, Uju grew up in the UK and has lived and worked in London, New York and Lagos. She is based in north London with her husband Abiye and two teenage sons. In her spare time, Uju is a books and Netflix binger, a kitchen raver, and an Arsenal suffer head. You can keep up with Uju at her parenting blog babesabouttown.com and @babesabouttown across social media.