How to be a writer in your 30s in Lagos

Self-help literature and the creation of authority in Africa

Authored by: Rebecca Jones

Routledge Handbook of African Literature

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN:
eBook ISBN: 9781315229546
Adobe ISBN:


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It is hard for the reader’s attention not to be grabbed by the hot pink cover and cursive font of Lape Soetan’s e-book, How to be a Single Woman in Your 30s in Lagos (2015b). The eye-catching book is the first of four self-help e-books by the blogger, life coach and self-help writer, who lives in Lagos, Nigeria. 1 Just 14 pages long and downloadable from Soetan’s website, the book explores the particular challenges and opportunities faced by single women in Lagos, where they often encounter fearsome social expectations that they should be married by the time they reach their thirties: ‘It’s strange (or maybe not so strange in our paternalistic Nigerian society)’, Soetan reflects, ‘that a single older woman is often thought to be cursed but you never hear it said that a single older man was cursed with being single’ (13). Based on her own experience of being single in Lagos, Soetan guides her reader through the process of making peace with singlehood, while keeping her eyes open for true love.

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