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Bayo Ojikutu BAYO OJIKUTU is a Chicago-based author. His critically-acclaimed first novel, 47th Street Black (2003), received both the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book Award. His second novel, Free Burning (RH/Crown - 2006), has been called “the most foreboding love letter the city has ever received” (Tim Lowery – Timeout Chicago) and "a searing portrayal of one of the shameful realities within an oft unjust society” (Denolyn Carrol - Black Issues Book Review). Ojikutu graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science. He has taught creative writing at the University of Chicago, the Graham School of Continuing Studies at the University of Chicago and DePaul. Ojikutu's fiction has appeared in the various anthologies and collections. He has been the winner of the Washington Prize for Fiction, the Great American Book Award, and a 2008 Exellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature (Fiction) from the African-American Arts Alliance.

Recent Work By Bayo Ojikutu

He had originally logged on to the site one month back, at the encouragement of the Saturday Singles Circle at his older brother’s African Methodist Episcopal Church. Marlon himself was not a regular churchgoer, not even a Christian outside of his parents’ imposition of their notion of salvation – he himself had no clue the difference, if any, between Methodist and Episcopal practice nor why both tags found their way into the name of a flock.  And he only supposed that one-hundred-and-eighty years prior the end of the 00’s, his great-great-great-great grandparents had been deposited on the country’s southeast shore, bound from Africa.  But it was a Saturday night and Marlon was single, and his brother (the mercantile day-trader, married with three toddling children), had pestered:

Come try the church again, Marley.  You have to get out of that garden unit — place reeks of wet dung and rotting pipe metal. How long before those drywalls collapse and bury you beneath the city? Who will know what came of you? Get out of there, come to the church. We know how you feel about the Good Word, so criminy, come on a Saturday night. There’s a group—

In prepping for this, and in trying to make sense of you, author, I ran across some rather interesting takes on your work: One of the national weeklies featured a review of your second novel, Free Burning,including this blurb:“[t]old in a blurry, memoir-like fashion, [this] unapologetic story is a dialogue-heavy meditation on desperation and drugs.”If I were an ass, I’d pose that the critic is suggesting that you’d written the novel while tripping high on poppy.Any response to such a notion?

This was a positive review?