Washington D.C. native Morowa Yejidé’s novel Time of the Locust was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, longlisted for the PEN/Bingham award, and a NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work. Her short stories have appeared in the Adirondack Review, the Istanbul Review, and others.
Her short story "Tokyo Chocolate" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, anthologized by Britain's best of the Willesden Herald, and praised by the Japan Times. She received her MFA from Wilkes University and is currently a PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools author. She lives in the D.C. area with her husband and three sons.
PEN/Bingham Award Finalist
"Yejidé is poised to make her mark with a novel that might be described as one of family connection—but encompasses so much more... When that father, Horus, develops supernatural abilities and connects with his son, strange and powerful things happen, but the focus is less on fantasy than on the fantastic power of love to bind and protect us."
"At times almost mystical in its intensity, Yejidé’s prose brings lyricism to her dark subject matter and unhappy characters, eventually introducing a kind of magical restoration to her shattered fictional family."
— Kirkus Reviews
Time of the Locust "deftly brings together the fantastic and the realistic, and it touches on a variety of issues, from politics, race and murder to disability, domestic tragedy and myth. Though just 242 pages long, it sweeps from Depression-era Louisiana, to New York in the ’60s, to Washington in the mid-’90s…the story is strong and original, and even the minor characters come alive...I was that mother once: terrified inside a weary body, unable to explain my missing husband or my feral son. The car, the mystery, the rift — I know them, they’re real. But Yejidé spins them with gold and possibility in this dark and fantastical tale.”
"There are characters who hook you from the second you meet them on the page. Sephiri, the autistic boy at the heart of Time of the Locust is one of them. In this moving debut, author Morowa Yejidé creates a protagonist who finds comfort in an imaginary world filled with sea creatures that help him cope with the "real world."
— Essence Magazine
Nantucket BOOK FESTIVAL pen/Faulkner writers in schools pick
Nantucket, Massachusetts: "Yejidé's book was the work of contemporary literature studied in the classroom of English teacher, Liz Reinemo. PEN/Faulkner supplied the curriculum guide, and the book was given as a gift to all students. It was read, studied and discussed, which culminated with this classroom visit. Ms. Reinemo created a dynamic classroom exploration of this powerful novel. "We tracked various topics throughout the novel, including racial tension, autism, solitary confinement, communication, isolation, hope, the power of love and dualities. We also looked at the writer's craft and the genre of magical realism. We also celebrated World Autism Day and 'lit it up BLUE', in addition to hearing first-hand accounts from families who live with autism in their lives." Additionally, Ms. Reinemo noted that "we also had a former corrections officer come in to class and speak about 'life on the inside'."
Excerpt from "Ocean of Imagination" by Mary Haft, Mahon About Town, May 2016
"A superb debut work of magic realism and finalist for the Pen/Bellwether Prize for socially engaged fiction, this is the book for you, your friends and your book club."
— Ebony Magazine
pen/faulkner writers in schools program
July 17, 2017
PEN/Faulkner Summer Supper & Book Club
A Discussion of Time of the Locust &
short story "Tokyo Chocolate"
Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave SE)
Art by Jeffrey Dale Starr