Hay Festival Debut Discoveries - Q&A With Stephen Buoro

Each year, Hay Festival Wales champions 10 remarkable debuts from first time authors as a part of our Debut Discoveries series. Our line-up for 2023 includes Stephen Buoro, a recipient of the Booker Prize Foundation scholarship, with his debut novel The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa. Get to know Stephen better in this Q&A...

What compelled you to write your debut?

I wanted to examine the legacy of colonialism in present-day Nigeria, the crumbling nature of the Nigerian state, and how these two factors bring about a crisis of self, a craving for whiteness and for the West.

What does being featured in Hay Festival’s Debut Discoveries mean to you?

I’ve heard a lot about the Hay Festival since I was a teenager growing up in Northern Nigeria. So it means a lot to me to be invited to participate in it. I’m thrilled and honoured to be featured in the festival’s Debut Discoveries.

What are you looking forward to at the Festival?

The experience of the festival, of course! I’ve never been there before. In fact, I’ve never been to Wales before. When I was a teenager, I read a book called The Dreamstone by Liane Jones about the Madoc myths which introduced me to the fascinating culture and history of Wales. So I can’t wait to visit. And regarding the festival, I’m also looking forward to meeting and speaking to David Olusoga, who I tremendously admire.

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just begun reading Diana Evans’s Ordinary People, and it’s intriguing. Evans’s prose is such a delight to read. The novel has given me interesting insights into contemporary British life, the experience of living in London, and I can’t wait to finish it.

What advice would you give to those writing their own debuts?

The popular quote by Junot Díaz: ‘The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.’

Book now to see Stephen Buoro talk The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa with David Olusoga at Hay Festival 2023 now.