The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives


“When Baba Segi woke up with a bellyache for the sixth day in a row, he knew it was time to do something drastic about his fourth wife’s childlessness.”

For Baba Segi, his collection of wives and gaggle of children are the symbol of prosperity, success and a validation of his manhood. Everything runs smoothly in the patriarchal home, until wife number four intrudes on their cozy family arrangement. Baba’s three wives hate Bolanle from the start; she doesn’t seem to know her place-at the bottom of the totem pole. And, to top it all, she wants to teach them to read But Bolanle’s arrival threatens to do more than simply ruffle feathers. Unwittingly, she’s about to expose the wives’ long-guarded secret-and they are not going to sit idly by and let her ruin what they’ve worked so hard to protect.

Longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is Lola Shoneyin’s fabulous and entertaining debut novel that brings your students into the little known world of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria.

“Using alternating narration, Shoneyin quickly gains the readers interest in this warts-and-all depiction of a culture that will be unfamiliar to many. Each wife finds her own way to assert her power and desire within the confines of a patriarchal system; in some cases, with disastrous consequences. Book clubs and readers in general interested in exploring dynamic characters and events, and who can tolerate some sex and violence, will find this a strong choice.” – Library Journal

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