It was a pleasure to be able to invite Nikki May, author of the recent breakout novel Wahala, to give a virtual talk for students, parents and visiting schools.
The novelist, whose sensational debut will soon be adapted as a television series by the BBC, offered fascinating insights into her background, career and influences.
Having previously left medical school to pursue a successful career at the head of a London advertising agency, Nikki detailed her longstanding ambition to write a book and the six-month struggle she underwent to transform her embryonic vision into a complete work.
Her initial concept was to write a book based on her experience as a British-Nigerian living in London, taking inspiration from a long lunch with friends. Eager to avoid a conventional narrative, Nikki told students of the work she put into developing her characters, the time she took away from the manuscript to fully formulate the ‘trouble’ that would enliven the story, and the difficulties she would come to face throughout the publication process.
Nikki was generous and forthcoming with encouragement and advice for students who may have literary ambitions of their own. Head Girl Jessica wrote: “I learned a lot about the publishing industry from the talk, particularly the differences between literary agents, managers and publishers. Nikki urged budding authors to get started and offered advice on how to do so.”