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The Secret Lives of the Wives of Baba Segi

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For a polygamist such as Baba Segi, stacking wives and children is a symbol of prosperity, success and manhood. It has been two years since his marriage to Bolanle, intelligent, well-read and twenty years younger than him. Her arrival into the household awakens the hatred among the other three wives. Bolanle soon realizes that in order to make herself respected by the others she will have to become a mother. However, months go by and she does not get pregnant. This situation threatens to stir up the family stability because, without knowing it, it will reveal a secret the rest of the women want to keep by all means.

With audacity and humor, Lola Shoneyin addresses a social issue such as polygamy, without evading any of its psychological, economic or sexual aspects. She condemns the hypocrisy of contemporary Nigeria, which praises motherhood and denies all autonomy to women. Shoneyin writes an ironic and irreverent that is also a hymn to female emancipation.

“A celebrated novel, in which a fierce criticism is built against the patriarcal society and that reivindicates education as an escape route”  - El País

Written by  Lola Shoneyin

Translation of Federico Vivanco

Cover by Ruth Bañon

Collection: Books of the Baobab

Size: 14.5 x 21.5cm 

Pages: 288

Binding: rustic with flaps

ISBN: 978.84.125007.4.5 


RRP €19.95  (price without VAT €19.19)


El País

“Marring daughters to a polygamous man is sometimes the only way of economically progressing

Equalitary sex for four wives: a cronicle of polygamy in Nigeria


The Secret Lives of the Wives of Baba Segi. A story of women


Review of The Secret Lives of the Wives of Baba Segi.


Lola Shoneyin: "31 per cent of Nigerian people are part of a polygamous marriage"

Revista Mercurio

Book recommendations from the Mercurio editorial office.

África Mundi

A family soap opera that speaks of tradition, machismo and the intelligence of the woman inside in the face of men who think they are better because of a matter of society.


Lola Shoneyin

Born in Nigeria in 1974, she is a poet, novelist and teacher. Her life has been the main source of inspiration for her first novel The Secret Lives of the Wives of Baba Segi, translated into eight languages and winner of numerous awards. Shoneyin has published four poetry books and two children’s books. She is the manager of AKE (Arts & Books Festival in Lagos, Nigeria).

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