By Jayne Augoye
A Nigerian author, Farida Ado, has made the Time Magazine 2018 Next Generation Leaders list released on Thursday.
She was featured alongside 11 people from around the world, including pop stars The Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Ghanaian supermodel, Adwoa Aboah.
TIME Magazine described Farida as “Kano’s Jane Austen.”
The 32-year-old is a Hausa-language author of six books featuring forbidden romance, polygamy and inter-generational drama.
Speaking to TIME, Farida said, “Women turn to romance novels to figure out how to live their own lives.”
Her recent series, The Block of Ashes, was inspired by a neighbour who went to a Nigerian juju priest hoping dark magic could help with her marital problems, to devastating results.
“I try to reflect the reality of society in my stories,” she said. “These juju doctors have become a menace in many homes.”
TIME Magazine notes on its website, “Women in the city of Kano in northern Nigeria are on the cusp of radical social changes, as globalized development pulls against conservative Islamic traditions. To help make sense of changing times, many are turning to romance novels, or littattafan soyayya (literally, “books of love”).
“The cheap and locally produced paperbacks, sold from tiny storefronts throughout Kano’s street markets, are a popular diversion for women of all classes and education levels.
TIME also said that her novels reflect the daily concerns and preoccupations of her contemporaries.
These include how to get along with the multiple step-siblings from your father’s several wives; how to deal with a new, younger wife in your home; how to maintain family harmony while striving for independence; and what to do (or not do) about a husband’s infidelity.
Ado’s books, printed locally on cheap pulp, are not likely to be translated into English anytime soon.