Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate in Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. After her graduation, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo Limited, a Nigerian publishing house, and as a production manager at Ajapaworld, a children’s educational and entertainment company. Oyin now works as a freelance writer and editor. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Oyin’s debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer won the LA Times Booker Prized for Mystery/Thriller, was nominated for the 2019 Booker Prize and was a finalist for the 2019 Women’s Prize.
What was the idea behind writing a novel in the genre of gallows humor? Who is your favorite author, and why?
I wasn’t thinking of genre when I wrote My Sister, the Serial Killer. And that gave me a sort of freedom to do or try whatever I wanted to.
I have a few, Robin Hobb, Anne Rice, Lesley Nneka Arimah – I like the way their minds work. I lust after a good imagination.
Why did you choose to write My Sister, the Serial Killer from Korede’s perspective?
I wanted a character that was half observer. I’m not fond of writing in the first person, but because Korede is very passive in the story, I was able to achieve a tone and style that worked for me.
Your leading characters are strong women and supporting roles are played by men who may or may not make it to the last page. What made you choose this approach?
I chose it because it was fun. I didn’t overthink it. I enjoy writing about strong women, or peculiar women or troubled women. But I also want to explore writing male characters a bit more going forward.
Your debut novel has been praised and awarded with multiple prestigious awards. How do you feel about it and to what extent have they helped boost your writing career?
I underestimated awards prior to my experience. I thought it was mostly about status. But I have realized that they greatly increase the visibility of your work and I am grateful for that. They have definitely increased readership.
You were a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize which means you wrote short stories before working on this novel. How did the process of writing a novel differ from a short story for you?
Novel writing requires a much greater commitment. A short story is like a fling. A novel is a marriage.
Thank you for engaging with my work, for being open-minded and for reaching out.