ELNATHAN JOHN is a lawyer, novelist and satirist. He is a 2015 Civitella Ranieri fellow and his fiction was shortlisted twice for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013 and 2015. His novel, Born on a Tuesday, a bildungsroman about the convergence of Islam, politics and culture in a turbulent time in northern Nigeria published by Cassava Republic Press and Grove Atlantic, has been shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and was a New York Times editors’ pick. Born on a Tuesday also received positive reviews in the Guardian UK as well as the New York Times and will be published in German in 2017 and French in 2018. His non-fiction covers subjects including pastoralism and conflict, gender non-conformism in northern Nigeria and Nigerian politics. Elnathan writes a weekly satire column for Daily Trust newspapers and is one of Nigeria’s most well known contemporary satirists. His writing has been published in Financial Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, ZAM magazine, The Chimurenga Chronic, BBC, Hazlitt, four Caine Prize for African Writing anthologies (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016), and Per Contra. He is the winner of a Betty Trask Award and the Miles Morland Competition 2017.


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Johns current manuscript “Berlin Blues” (WT) is a collection of Berlin stories, that caricatures the cliché of “African literature”.

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„A Writer of prodigious talent.“ Petina Gappah

“[John] has produced a thoughtful, nuanced first novel, employing a style that is as unadorned as it is unflinching. John is a writer to watch.” Fiammetta Rocco, The New York Times Book Review

“John’s writing is controlled and lucid, full of compassion yet fiercely unerring.” Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

“Nigerian lit is experiencing a renaissance right now, with a young generation of writers leading the way. Names like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chigozie Obioma, and Chinelo Okparanta are critically acclaimed. Add Elnathan John to that list.” Globe and Mail (Toronto)



  • Miles Morland Competition 2017
  • Betty Trask Award 2017
  • Etisalat Prize for African Literature 2017 (Longlist)
  • Republic of Consciousness Prize 2017 (Shortlist)
  • Nigeria Prize for Literature 2016 (Shortlist)
  • New York Times editors‘ pick 2016
  • two-time Caine Prize finalist 2013/2015