To the dismay of her overbearingly ambitious mother, Bolanle marries into a polygamous family, where she is the fourth wife of a rich, rotund patriarch, Baba Segi. She is a graduate and therefore a great prize, but even graduates must produce children and her husband's persistent bellyache is a sign that things are not as they should be. Bolanle is too educated for the 'white garment conmen' Baba Segi would usually go to for fertility advice, so he takes her to hospital to discover the cause of her barrenness. Weaving the voices of Baba Segi and his four competing wives into a portrait of a clamorous household of twelve, Lola Shoneyin evokes an extraordinary Nigerian family in splashes of vibrant colour.
Lola Shoneyin has published three collections of poems. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives is her debut novel. Having lived in London and the South East for several years, Shoneyin has recently moved to Abuja, Nigeria, and teaches drama and English at a local school.